The Future of Print Is Data-Driven & That Future Is Here

By: Patrick Henry


Print technology has evolved, thanks to the growth of digital printing and data tools, which means print is becoming as personalized and relevant as online media.

Just how meaningful is print in what’s come to be called the world of “omnichannel” communications? To publishers and to brands that owe their success to direct mail and catalogs, the answer might seem too obvious to need repeating. However, that leaves all the other media and marketing professionals to whom the answer ought to be just as obvious, but isn’t.

The DigiPub Conference aims to provide the needed clarity by underscoring the role of data-driven print in both book and magazine publishing and in integrated marketing campaigns. At the inaugural event, publishing and marketing executives discussed how print is a powerful medium for capturing consumer attention, and how it can be enhanced and even personalized, thanks to online data and digital printing technology. The conference, hosted in New York City in November 2017, showcased how print media is evolving to become as responsive, customized, and engaging as the online world.

Data-Driven Print Improves Content Relevancy

The common theme of its general-session presentations and topical panel discussions was that with the help of data-driven print in the mix, publishers and brand owners can connect the online and offline behaviors of their audiences for the results they want.

“Data-driven print,” as described in an opening keynote to the general sessions by Denis Wilson, editorial director of Book Business and Publishing Executive, is responsive, demand-based, targeted, personalized, connected, and measurable.

These virtues, he said, are a riposte to the “noise” created by narratives that don’t take them properly into account. The faulty narratives have failed to note, for example, the embrace of printed catalogs by online retailers; and the fact that printed books have easily withstood competition from ebooks, which were once thought poised to claim half the book publishing market.

Books, catalogs, and other examples of “purposeful print” are attractive to consumers precisely because they are physical media, according to Wilson, who added that their appeal can be enhanced by making data an ingredient of their development. “If you can increase relevancy, you can increase engagement,” and that engagement can be monetized, he said.

Print vs. Digital Is the Wrong Question

An accurate narrative about the place of print can be found in the responses to a recent Target Marketing survey about marketing practices, said Nathan Safran, NAPCO Media’s director of research. The survey found, among other things, that print was the second largest budget allocation made by respondents in 2017; direct mail was the second most used method for customer acquisition and retention; and that direct mail delivered the second highest ROI.

Results like these, said Safran, tell us that “print versus digital is the wrong question:” what marketers should be trying to find out is where print fits best among the digital channels they are using.

Print Magazines Drive Consumer Purchasing

Linda Thomas Brooks, CEO, The Association of Magazine Media

Linda Thomas Brooks, CEO, The Association of Magazine Media

Today, magazine publishing consists of both, although attention usually is focused on the travails of the print side of the business. Linda Thomas Brooks, president and CEO of MPA, The Association of Magazine Media, acknowledged that the magazine industry is experiencing disruption. But, she said, “we never talk about the part of the business that’s good.”

The good news to spread is that magazine media build brands and sell products “in a transparent and safe environment with demonstrable results and more rigor to prove it than anyone else.” Magazines are unique in being able to brand and sell simultaneously, said Brooks; other media do one or the other, but not both.

What’s more, unlike “walled gardens” such as Google and Facebook that “grade their own homework,” magazines voluntarily submit to independent circulation audits and share those metrics of their effectiveness with advertisers.

Magazine-disparaging rhetoric ignores the reach of magazine media into consumers’ lives, Brooks declared. Nielsen data reveals, for example, that nothing on television - including "The Walking Dead" and Sunday night football - is seen by as many people as the top 10 magazines. The rhetoric also ignores the fact that unlike the kinds of unrequested digital media people find so intrusive, magazines are “invited” into homes through subscriptions and single-copy purchases.

As Brooks pointed out, “advertisers get to come along as the plus-one,” and being the guest of the guest in this way can be a smart investment. In reviewing return on ad spend (ROAS) in 1,400 client cases, Nielsen Catalina Solutions found that magazine media delivered a ROAS of $3.94 for every $1 spent on them - higher than digital display advertising, linear (live) TV, mobile, and digital video. In this sense, said Brooks, magazine advertising is underpriced when compared with other channels.

She also stressed the tactile appeal of magazines and the trust that consumers continue to place in them. The democratization of media has made people even more eager for expertly curated content from reliable sources, a public service that magazine media have always provided.

How Inkjet Is Changing Magazine, Catalog & Book Markets

Marco Boer, Vice President, IT Strategies

Marco Boer, Vice President, IT Strategies

Publishing retains its reputation and its “gravitas,” according to Marco Boer, vice president, IT Strategies, but it has also come under “huge financial pressure” that publishers can use digital technologies to help relieve. He reviewed the options for producers of books, catalogs, magazines, and direct mail, noting the opportunities that each segment has to print with better quality, efficiency, and economy.

The book market, he said, is “really stable,” with about 8% of its pages now printed digitally and twice that percentage of digital pages forecasted by 2020. The question is how to make it more profitable. Part of the answer, said Boer, lies in producing more books in color: about 10% of offset book units are printed in color, but they account for 33% of the value.

As book run lengths decline and the frequency of ordering increases, profit will come from turning book printing into a form of “agile manufacturing” that can adapt to the change in demand. Distribution inefficiencies have to be addressed as well. Up to 30% of all books printed are still shredded as unsold returns, said Boer, who also noted that “the slow boat from Asia doesn’t really work any more” for publishers that want to adopt data-driven production strategies.

Emerging, said Boer, are global networks for color book production in which “touchless processing” characterizes the workflow from order entry, content assembly, and logistics to distributed printing at a location close to the customer that placed the order. He said continuous-feed inkjet printing would be central to this model, although cut-sheet toner digital presses and offset lithography also could have their places in it.

Catalogs, in Boer’s view, remain highly relevant as “on-ramps” to the non-print shopping channels that consumers are now using. Offset continues to be the predominant process for this mostly high-volume application, but digital printing, with its unit-cost advantage in short runs, is made to order for the specialized vertical markets that catalog retailers also want to reach. Inkjet presses are getting better at printing on the kinds of paper stocks that catalogers like to use, Boer added.

Substrate compatibility is something that inkjet production will also have to offer magazines, whose declining circulations and changing formats are starting to make them candidates for the short-run economy of digital printing. Various methods for making coated offset stocks receptive to inkjet inks are available now, and new processes and consumables that serve the same purpose are on the way.

These solutions won’t establish themselves overnight. But in 10 years’ time, predicted Boer, the debate about inkjet’s suitability for magazines and catalogs will have ended, and offset will look less attractive than it does now as a process for printing them.

Direct mail, meanwhile, stands out as the sterling example of what digital printing can accomplish in the traditional channels. Inkjet, according to Boer, accounts for 30% of all direct mail pieces now produced. IT Strategies projects that inkjet’s share will be 50% by 2020.

Will inkjet make similar inroads into catalogs and magazines? That depends, said Boer, on how long it takes their publishers to realize that producing them “is no longer about print cost—it’s about value to the customer.” Once they see that, they’ll also see that they “can’t afford not to have digital print” as a manufacturing option.

How Brands Are Using Programmatic Direct Mail

Adam Solomon, Chief Product Officer, PebblePost

Adam Solomon, Chief Product Officer, PebblePost

Capping the general sessions was a report on data-driven print in action by Adam Solomon, chief product officer of PebblePost. The “golden age of digital” we find ourselves in, he said, is signaled by the fact that this year for the first time, spending on digital advertising exceeded the spend on TV advertising. At this rate, digital could eventually represent 50% of all advertising outlays.

But, the digital advertising chain is so dauntingly complex (“tech gone wild,” as Solomon put it) that the experience for consumers often turns out to be a poor one. This explains why they’re increasingly resorting to ad blockers and other remedies for pushing back against the overload.

Solomon said that programmatic direct mail, PebblePost’s specialty, offers marketers a result-getting alternative to bombarding consumers with digital-only messaging they won’t respond to. He compared its main ingredients, customer data and physical mail, to those of a famous peanut-butter-and-chocolate confection: delicious individually, but even more satisfying together.

PebblePost gathers “signals” of online shopping behavior and uses that information to dynamically create mailing pieces that correspond to whatever the shopper was doing at the time the signal was captured. Because the process is designed for very rapid turnaround, Solomon said, “today’s intent signal becomes tomorrow’s direct mail.”

A rules engine turns the signal into a “dynamic JPEG” that is ready to be digitally printed and placed into the next day’s mailstream. The “secret sauce,” according to Solomon, is PebblePost’s ability to match signals to surface addresses in a privacy-compliant way. PebblePost also uniquely codes the pieces to track and analyze conversion events—actions taken by addressees upon receipt of the pieces.

Done correctly, said Solomon, programmatic direct mail exceeds the sum of it parts in terms of the response it generates. To make the most of it, he advised marketers, “be fast, be nimble, and be iterative” with the possibilities it offers.

Author: Patrick Henry

Source: pubexec.com URL: https://goo.gl/JptDgb

The Treachery of 'Magazine Media' Doublespeak

By: Peter Houston

In 1929, Surrealist Rene Magritte painted a picture of a pipe with a label on it that read, “This is not a pipe.”

When most people see The Treachery of Images for the first time they get a little confused… ‘Of course it’s a pipe. What’s this crazy Belgian on about?’

Magritte’s point is it’s not a pipe, it’s a representation of a pipe. He set up the disconnect between the picture and the words to spark a dissonance that would, hopefully, start a conversation about how images and art work.

Every time I read the phrase ‘Magazine Media’ I feel like the magazine business is playing the same surrealist trick, but without having the useful discussion around how magazines work.

So, you publish magazines, but you’re not a magazine publisher?

No, we’re a ‘Magazine Media’ business?

You make media about magazines?

No, we make magazines and media.

But aren’t magazines media?


And so it’s been for a decade or more, the magazine industry tying itself in knots around this deliberately ambiguous doublespeak in a desperate attempt to:

A) Make itself feel better about how it’s doing in digital.
B) Disguise the fact that it still needs legacy print revenue.

Before I’m accused of curmudgeonly hair-splitting (again), I get it. It’s important to show investors and staff that we’ve moved on. It’s not business as usual. We don’t just smear pigment on dead trees any more.

And yes, most modern magazine publishers work across a variety of media. They do the web and apps and email. They run social channels, make video and audio, sell stuff online and run events. These days, successful magazine publishers do much more than print magazines.

But why do we have to try to shoe-horn a multifaceted, multiplatform response to the disruption in the magazine markets into one, largely meaningless, catch-all, phrase?

Complex Inferiority

Rather than highlight the fact that the majority of magazine publishers have enthusiastically extended the boundaries of their portfolios, the addition of the ‘Media’ qualifier displays a stark insecurity around the analogue foundations of the business.

It creates the sense that being ‘just’ a magazine publisher isn’t good enough. It suggests that a re-branding is necessary because admitting any connection to old-school magazine publishing is shameful.

Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I think words matter and, in this case, the ‘Media’ add-on is being used to hide some inconvenient truths.

Magazine Media sounds technical, not like it makes most of its money from inky paper.

Magazine Media sounds new, not like it rests on a 300-year old format.

Magazine Media sounds dynamic, not like an industry struggling with disruption.

In a ‘Confessions’ post earlier this year, Digiday reported from the American Magazine Media Conference. One anonymous executive claimed: “The people that are left on the print side are just manning the wheel, and they’re not asked to come up with any ideas.”

I don’t think that’s true – Empire’s Fantastic Beasts cover shows there are still innovations in print magazines - but I can understand why it was said: It’s easier, and possibly safer, to stick with the Digital Good, Print Bad mantra that replaced Magazine conferences with Magazine Media conferences.

The future’s not digital

Yes OK, the future is totally digital, but bear with me.

Almost 20 years ago, the founder of MIT’s Media Lab, Nicholas Negroponte, wrote in Wired magazine: “Like air and drinking water, being digital will be noticed only by its absence, not its presence…”

And he was right; we rarely talk about digital cameras any more - they’re just cameras.

When I talk about magazines, I don’t think of just printed pages. A magazine to me is a sophisticated multi-platform undertaking that harnesses a huge spread of content-creation, content-management, distribution and analytics technology.

The new bits in magazine publishing, the ‘Media’, should be secondary to magazine craft, skills held by people that made magazines long before they had to think about multimedia.

Back in 2015, Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes – a man with a billion-dollar budget – told Mark Ritson: “It is not about doing ‘digital marketing’, it is about marketing effectively in a digital world.”

Equally, it’s not about doing ‘Magazine Media’ (whatever that is), it’s about doing magazines effectively in a digital world.

Calling what magazine publishers do ‘Magazine Media’ does nothing to describe what the modern magazine industry is about. And if we are to get to the other side of the digital disruption we need to do a much better job explaining – to readers and advertisers alike – that magazines are much, much more than they used to be.

I don’t expect ‘Magazine Media’ to go away, but I would love it if sometime soon we could just talk about magazines again and take it as read that includes all the platforms and content formats that magazine publishers routinely work with, and all those still to come.

We need to focus on doing the magazine bit effectively rather than the media bit. Magazines have always been about audiences, about affinity, engagement and relationships. Whatever media we use, we should be magazine publishers first.

Without that, we’re just more media.

Author: Peter Houston

Source: themediabriefing.com URL: https://goo.gl/f6ZmNB

Advertising Personalization Redefined: How to Optimize your Spend with Landing Pages

By: Tyson Quick

Digital advertising isn’t going anywhere. In just the third quarter of 2016 alone, marketers spent a record breaking $17.6 billion on digital. That’s a 20 percent year-over-year increase.

But how much of that spend actually translates to customer acquisition and optimal ROI? Thinking about search advertising specifically, there’s a massive inefficiency in turning ad clicks into conversions, and I’ve seen first-hand how marketers with the biggest budgets just weren’t generating the proper results. In fact, a 2015 study by Proxima found that 60 percent of global digital ad spend goes wasted each year.

A new kind of personalized advertising

Advertisers today don’t have an excuse to not provide an incredibly relevant and personalized advertising experience through each part of the customer journey. Without personalized advertising, you’re just blasting your brand messaging in the hopes of seeing positive returns without using insights into who a customer might be in order to increase the relevancy of an ad.

Guy Marion, CMO at Autopilot, said it best: “Today's consumers are expecting a personalized experience. In fact, we know that the majority of consumers now are turned off by generic, common messaging and marketing that doesn’t take into account their interests and behavior.”

But there’s one thing that marketers and advertisers are missing: the customer journey doesn’t stop at the ad.

Continuing the personalization with landing pages

I founded Instapage almost five years ago, and in that time, I’ve increasingly found that advertisers aren’t capitalizing on where the conversion really happens. It’s the landing page that carries the customer through to the final destination, the point of conversion.

Think of it this way: a potential customer searches for something on Google, clicks on an advertisement, and is directed to a landing page. That landing page is the customer’s first full experience with the brand, and therefore should continue the personalization of the ad that the customer first interacted with. However, we’re seeing that advertisers are far too often sending potential customers to a generic website that erodes all of the work they put in at the top of the funnel.

Google AdWords advertisers see an average conversion rate of 2.70 percent. With a personalized landing page, that rate can increase to an average of more than 20 percent. A company that spends $1M per year in advertising would need to spend $3M more to achieve the same conversion quantity if they chose to send their ads to a generic website.

It seems simple, but customers benefit from this enhanced personalized form of advertising because it reduces the search time to deliver what they want, and businesses benefit because they can target their audiences with higher granularity. That means less wasted money on irrelevant advertising.

So, what is the future?

When talking about digital, I see a future where every marketing campaign directs to a personalized landing page, as they truly make the difference in increased conversion rates and improved user experiences.

And because advertising personalization is continually enhancing the way in which brands and consumers interact, landing pages will be the driver for more direct communication channels, fewer irrelevant brands, and less friction points in the customer journey.

Not only will our customers thank us for it, but our conversion rates will, too.

By: Tyson Quick

Source: martechadvisor.com URL: https://goo.gl/HQutB9