Customer Magazines: An Effective Weapon in the Direct Marketing Armory
Schijns, Jos M. C., Journal of International Business and Economics
In a crowded communication environment, media have to prove their effectiveness and accountability in reaching their goals. Although marketing analytics are more important than ever in modern marketing programs, hardly any research is available on the effectiveness of customer magazines. This research focuses on answering the question: "Are customer magazines accountable in reaching their goals?"
Previous research on the effectiveness of relationship magazines has been commissioned in the UK by the Association of Publishing Agencies (APA) and Royal Mail, in cooperation with Millward Brown. The research shows that readers have a sophisticated understanding of the role of customer magazines; they welcome them, spend time reading them, have a more positive view of the company image and are more inclined to continue using the company than non-readers.
In order to find out whether the results of the APA study can be extended to the Dutch market, and verify the likelihood that the customer magazine is accountable for the differences between readers and nonreaders, we started our own research, consisting of nine magazines from three different sectors.
Our findings confirm the effectiveness of customer magazines as a medium for building and retaining loyalty. Based on our results the customer magazine has definitely moved away from the public relations exercise towards the strategic communication device. Customer magazines have an effective role to play as part of the marketing mix. A role that is even more effective, if the intermediate function of a customer magazine is taken into account. Customer magazines are the ideal means to mention a company's website, to refer to exhibits, stimulate (web)store visits, link to the company's catalogue, and explore market research. Customer magazines, therefore, should be integrated into the mainstream marketing (communication) strategies.
Keywords: Custom(er) Magazine, Customer Loyalty
The market for customer media, including customer magazines, is growing fast. In the UK the revenue generated by customer publishing agencies (excluding other industry costs, such as production and distribution costs) was worth [pound sterling]352 million in 2005. That 's a 2.2% increase compared to 2004. And this value will significantly increase over the next five years to [pound sterling]541 million by 2011, according to Mintel (2006). That's an increase of some 54%, or 34% when the effects of inflation are taken into account. The market for customer media is the fastest growing market, after the internet, according to the Custom Publishing Council of the DMA (US). Some reasons for this amazing growth can be pointed out. As a result of technological innovation and cutting edge printing technology, it becomes more efficient and effective to produce customer magazines, even in multiple versions addressed at different, small customer segments (versionalisation). The personalized magazine has become an affordable means within a companies direct marketing communication strategy. When marketingbudgets become smaller and competition gets tough, customer magazines become an increasingly important component of the marketing mix.
Also, traditional means of communicating with customers seem less effective, giving new opportunities for media like customer magazines (Bronner, 2004). Hundreds of companies, across all industry sectors, are discovering that a customer magazine can encourage customer loyalty, provide information to existing customers, generate new business, promote brand awareness and boost sales to existing customers (APA).
In addition, customer magazines offer companies increased control over the content of the message and the …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Customer Magazines: An Effective Weapon in the Direct Marketing Armory. Contributors: Schijns, Jos M. C. - Author. Journal title: Journal of International Business and Economics. Volume: 8. Issue: 3 Publication date: September 2008. Page number: 70+. © 2008 International Academy of Business and Economics. COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale Group.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.