magazine printing

Why you should be printing a customer magazine

Written by Jason Groom
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Originally published
September 6 2017,
July 3 2020

There’s something slightly indulgent about a magazine. A newspaper oozes facts and smacks of seriousness, an online portal or news feed is immediate and transitory, but a magazine is an altogether more tactile experience for which a reader sets aside time and “brain space”.

Brands, retailers, and businesses are recognising that these targeted, niche, and in some cases personalised, magazines are a great way of engaging with their audience and generating loyalty. 


These are the facts: -

Circulation can be HUGE
Top of the circulation tree is the Tesco Magazine with an impressive 1.96m, followed closely by Asda’s Good Living magazine (1.79m). Waitrose Food enjoys a circulation of 690,058, Vitality Insurance’s “Vitality” stands at 570,000 and John Lewis Edition (JLE) 487,075.


The brand stays “in charge”
An owned medium such as a magazine where all elements of it – design, content, distribution, etc. - are determined by the brand, is a far easier channel to manage and control. Compare that to, for example, its social media presence where not just supporters but critics can comment and lead the conversation in any way that they choose.


Magazines deliver incremental sales
The publisher of Waitrose Food openly states that its aim is “to get customers to buy two or three items they wouldn’t otherwise have bought.” And it seems on track. Two particular food lines experienced a 186% uplift in sales immediately after being featured in the title, and its readers apparently spend five times more money a year in the store than non-readers.


Are perceived as a reward
Plus, in a survey, 36% of respondents said that the magazine alone makes them more likely to shop in a Waitrose store.


Can form part of an “experience”
In-flight magazines in particular are viewed not so much as advertising but as part of a holiday experience. In a 2015 Global Passengers Survey, 33% said it enhanced the airline’s image, 78% that it “added joy to the flight” and 41% of passengers bought products advertised in it.


And, with personalised content…
Brazilian airline TAM Airlines created unique editions of their Ownboard magazine tailored to the likes, dislikes, interests and social activity based on a passenger’s Facebook page, accessed during the online ticket purchase process. Each passenger on a particular route received a publication full of their own photos and details about their friends' activity, along with articles based on their interests and events they enjoyed. The reaction was “astonishing”.


Print has greater “value”
When it comes to engagement, memory and recall, neuroscience research shows that paper-based content and advertisements offer special advantages in connecting with our brains. That, and the portability of printed materials that allow them to be read and digested in a variety of environments (the 3Bs of bathroom, beach or bus!) gives printed magazines the edge.


They’re like their newsstand competitors…but different
Successful customer magazines use targeting and profiling techniques to generate and publish content geared to their readership. For example, JLE says it has “one type of target reader in mind – the fashion-interested 35-50-year-old woman”. So, it is focused on that reader demographic, but with the added plus of having an entire store’s range to promote and sell.


They offer an additional revenue stream
Selling advertising space within a magazine can be an important revenue stream. Advertising (and advertorial) can be used to contribute to the production and distribution costs, or may even be enough to generate a profit from its publication.


They needn’t exist in isolation
For omnichannel retailers, printed magazines can act as a bridge to (but also from) the other channels. Its content can encourage readers to download an app, register for an offer online, input a personalised URL (pURL) or scan a QR code to watch a product video, text a competition entry, etc. This increases penetration and value but also makes the readers “journey” trackable.

The popularity of customer magazines has been steadily growing, and shows no signs of abating. If you want to capture your customers’ imaginations (and a share of their wallet) it’s a channel that you definitely don’t want to ignore.


If you want to know more, get in touch.

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