By Charles Ping, Communisis.
The lines between traditional product catalogues and editorially focused magazines have been gradually blurring over recent years, with the customer publishing sector in particular driving the development of ‘magalogs’ – otherwise known as branded editorialised content.
Whilst a number of brands are already producing magalogs the levels of targeting and sophistication vary across the board.
Some issue one standard magalog to an entire customer base and others use a little more science to produce purpose-made editions based on the traditional direct marketing principles of targeting messages towards specific customer segments.
Obvious segmentation aside, the combination of advances in digital print technologies and enhanced data insight means that brands and publishers are now in a position to achieve even greater personalisation in customer communications.
In fact, many businesses are already aware of the benefits of customer understanding and one to one marketing, but have yet to realise the potential of combining the two.
There is nothing to stop businesses producing a library of pre-made pages, ready for inclusion in bespoke publications designed on the basis of each individual customer’s purchase or browser history. However fundamental to this approach is a sound knowledge of potential ROI
For example, if I’m a 25 year old bachelor shopping for kitchenware at John Lewis, then any communication with me should reflect this. As a customer I’m unlikely to be interested in the same products that would interest an older John Lewis shopper and certain products will be totally irrelevant.
To take this idea further, rather than just producing a set number of magalogs for certain customer segments – one for the over 65s, one for the under 25s and so on – ambitious brands should look to tailor specific versions to the individual.
And the idea of an individual isn’t just about age. It’s about lifestage, wealth, household composition, wants, needs and the whole panoply of variables that identify individuals.
By collating, ordering and understanding a wide range of consumer data brands are able to paint a clear picture of what each customer is likely to be interested in. This added to purchase history even browsing behaviour online allows the retailer to harness this insight to generate intelligence driven communications.
Magalogs are an increasingly popular way of doing this. Research from the Association of Publishing Agencies shows that people read customer magazines for an average of 25 minutes, proving this medium has the potential to engage consumers more deeply than any other marketing tool.
Customers clearly value these publications, and more brands are waking up to the value and benefits that magalogs can offer.
By harnessing the data that customers provide with every single brand interaction and channelling this insight through existing digital print technologies, businesses will be able to showcase relevant products through this highly targeted and highly engaging platform.
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