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Australian Custom Magazines Release Measurement Research

24 Nov 2011

In just two decades the media landscape has become hugely fragmented, its four key bastions - newspapers, TV, radio and mass market consumer magazines - are vastly diminished in size and stature as multi channel content makes way for truly targeted communication.

Today's brands have become today's publishers, but if you are planning on communicating directly with your customers you had better make sure you do it well.

Custom magazines are proven brand builders; overseas study after study has shown that custom magazines are a trusted source of valued information and a powerful influence on customer relationships.

According to UK research custom magazines increase brand loyalty by 32 per cent (The APA Advantage Study, Millward Brown 1998).

For the first time, Australia's leading custom media producers have come together to comprehensively establish the value and measure the effectiveness of custom magazines in this country. Research conducted by McNair Ingenuity Research uncovered that a critical influence on brand choice is the customer communication experience.

Read on for a summary of top industry insights:

Key findings

The key findings of the Australian Custom Magazines report are resoundingly positive. The value of targeted editorial as a tool for connecting with defined audiences is clearly evidenced, demonstrating that custom magazines provide a powerful medium for driving:

o Time spent with the brand
o Brand awareness and recognition
o Positive and ongoing brand engagement
o High levels of customer satisfaction
o Deeper relationships
o Brand affinity and trust
o Strong call to action and reaction
o And increased customer referrals

No smoke and mirrors

The strongest relationships are unfailingly the most honest. One of the most compelling facts to emerge from the Australian Custom Report is that 91 per cent of readers know and understand that a custom magazine is a promotional tool for that brand or organisation. And yet not only do they read it thoroughly, they respond extremely positively to its content.

Why do they remain so engaged? Because, as this survey demonstrates, they deem custom magazine content to be at once relevant, informative and entertaining. According to the Australian Custom Report:

o 90 per cent of readers believe their magazine's content is relevant to the brand
o 87 per cent also believe it is relevant to them as a reader
o 90 per cent find their magazines to be a good source of information
o 82 per cent enjoy the reading experience

Significantly, custom magazines are considered to be the most credible medium for reporting information about a brand or organisation (conversely newspapers were seen to be the least credible).

The majority of survey respondents also indicated that they would be happy to accept more content in custom magazines for personal use as part of their media mix, which also included online communications.

In fact, as the Report suggests, they are more willing to receive more custom magazines than to receive promotions in main media.

So what does that mean for your brand?

Consider this. How up close and personal does your brand currently get with your customers? Do you get almost 40 minutes of face time with your consumers on a regular basis?

According to the Custom Report, custom magazines in this country are read for an invaluable 39.7 minutes.

There is no question that magazines have a particularly intimate relationship with their audiences; they are a medium of trust, a medium of information and an active medium (PPA How Magazine Advertising Works 2005).

Specifically targeted at your audience, custom magazines are designed to engage consumers who already have an existing relationship with\ your brand or organisation - and take that relationship even further.

The Australian Custom Report also confirms that custom magazine readers are more than four times as likely than non-readers to agree that the brand or organisation:

- Is a brand that CARES ...
- Is a brand that is RELEVANT to them ...
- Is a brand or organisation they can TRUST ...
- Is a brand or organisation that they LOVE

Converting reaction to action

So once you have a magazine that your customers trust and a brand that they love, what's that likely to do for your future sales figures?

The value of editorial to customers is much in evidence, but so is the value that it translates to for brands and organisations that choose to invest in the medium.

Once again the Australian Report demonstrates that not only do custom magazine readers respond favourably to their magazines, they are significantly more likely to explore and act upon the brand offer.

- 54 per cent of readers say that they visited the website of the brand or service
- 53 per cent of readers say that they looked for a product or service as a result of reading the magazine
- 75 per cent of readers say that they notice advertising in the magazines
- 51 per cent of readers say that they use the ads as a point of reference when shopping around

Engagement = effectiveness (squared)

With 95 per cent of all customers who receive a magazine readily recalling its arrival and the majority reading it immediately - and then keeping it for more than a month to refer back to at least twice, there is little question that this medium provides a platform for deeper, direct and ongoing customer connection and communication.

But this Report has found that not only do customers ‘care' about their magazines and as a consequence have a stronger relationship with the brand - they also ‘share'. According to the research:

- Eight in ten readers would recommend their magazine to a friend
- Three quarters of receivers read their magazine immediately and then it sits in a common area
- On average 2.3 people read each copy of a custom magazine
- 64 per cent of readers say they talked to someone about the brand, product or service as a result of reading the magazine

The Report concludes that, given their power in promoting deeper relationships, custom magazines should gain a greater share of marketing budget and should be included as an integral part of the marketing mix for driving both repeat purchasers and new customers alike.

The Australian Custom Magazines Report was conducted via telephone and online by McNair Ingenuity Research Pty Ltd amongst receivers of Weight Watchers Magazine, Coles Baby & Toddler Magazine, Volkswagen Magazine, Restaurant & Catering Magazine and Real Estate Institute of NSW Journal. Fieldwork was carried out in August and September 2011.

A total of 975 people (200 from each magazine group) completed the survey (with the exception of Restaurant & Catering where 175 completed).

A sample of people who receive each of the five magazines was used as the sample frame. No age or gender quotas were applied.

All analysis was conducted by McNair Ingenuity Research. Validations were conducted on interviewing and data entry to ensure the highest possible standards.

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