WHAT DO WE DO WITH ALL THAT DATA?
Now that you have a much deeper understanding of your audience and have some specific data on certain segments, it’s time to get personal. While the application of personalized variable data print is not new, it’s certainly underutilized in the publishing industry. Most think it’s way too expensive. While this may be true compared strictly to offset print, the incremental benefits far outweigh the increase in cost. That’s not to say that you should go full-steam ahead and print a fully personalized magazine; we need to walk before we run.
Let’s start with the cover and explore a couple of possibilities. When using the cover as the variable platform, it offers four positions (front, inside front, inside back, and back; or cover 1, 2, 3, and 4) that can be personalized and that ensure the one-to-one matching logic — in other words, develop a cover that speaks to an individual. Let’s assume that our X Media Company’s analysis also revealed that a particular reader is a lover of the performing arts, eats out three days a week, and enjoys taking weekend family trips within a few-hours’ drive of her home. The cover artwork can be designed in a way — by using images and messages — to call out content in the issue that showcases live events, restaurants, and leisure travel in her region.
Not only have you instantly increased reader engagement, you have now developed a one-to-one marketing tool that allows you to create targeted direct-marketing campaigns at a fraction of the cost of a standard direct mail piece. Think of the possibilities for the remaining three cover positions.
The ability to sell what has traditionally been a broad media, static position is now a one-to-one direct marketing position.
Your pool of potential advertisers just grew exponentially based on that segmentation strategy — multiplied by the number of advertisers that would be interested in buying that particular position. In other words, if the base rate for cover 2 was $7,500, your potential revenue could increase to $37,500 if your data is segmented into five buckets.
The argument might be made that you would need to decrease the space cost based on a lower distribution. I would say that all costs remain the same or that you could even charge a premium based on the highly targeted one-to-one messaging opportunity. By applying the same process to cover 3 and 4, your potential revenue explodes. Compared to a direct mail campaign, the space cost is likely 30- to 50-percent less expensive — and with comparable one-to-one targeting benefits.
STEPPING IT UP
Ready to elevate the game even more? Imagine using advertiser data to overlay transactional history with your database for re-targeting opportunities. Deliver printed advertisements or offers based on the readers shopping history, abandoned shopping carts online, or lifestyle preference. This could be accomplished by creating tracking metrics through the use of variable barcodes or promotional codes that measure the return on investment. At the same time, you’re also providing valuable insight to the advertiser through the use of test messaging, offers, and placements that maximize reader engagement. A key piece to this is integrating the print offers with your digital products to ensure the content is being consumed regardless of media preference.
All of the processes, concepts, and ideas shared here are still relatively new, even in the digital world. And while these hypertargeted solutions may not apply to all industries or to your particular publication, the basics of personalization and segmentation are ripe for exploration regardless of niche or audience. You can start small. The foundation of any print personalization begins with a simple list, and there are infinite resources, big and small, to help develop that list into a working database.
It’s clear that the future of marketing is direct and that print is a critical element. According to recent Direct Marketing Association reports, the response rate for direct mail among existing customers is 3.4 percent — more than 28 times the 0.12 percent for email. With the unique solution that publishers can bring — using content and one-to-one marketing at a potentially lower cost than direct mail — the future of publishing looks very bright.
Robert Haas is vice president, business development and
data intelligence for PCMA, the
Professional Convention Management Association, which publishes Convene magazine (pcmaconvene.org). Connect at tinyurl.com/linkedin-haas.