Better Together: Print and Digital

By: Kim Davis


"These are not unimportant messages," said Cali Tran, president of Valassis, the "intelligent media delivery" vendor.

Tran was explaining how the messages Valassis delivers on behalf of its clients, in both paper and digital form, drives savings to American consumers. "They have a real impact on the products and services they choose to purchase."

The company was founded by George Valassis in Detroit, almost half a century ago, and revolutionized the coupon industry through the first co-operative free standing insert. That's history, of course, and Valassis has come a long way — as CRO/COO Wayne Powers told DMN last year. Not that it's come anywhere close to abandoning print.

Integrating print and digital

"Consumers today live as much in a connected as a terrestrial world," Tran told me, explaining the effectiveness of combining digital and print media. Over the last three years, he said, Valassis has developed new capabilities that leverage knowledge of consumers' online and mobile behavior to enhance offline messaging. 

Digital data, he said, is "fantastic at targeting consumers based on real-world behavior." Valassis uses "as much data as we can get our hands on," he continued. "We borrow, we rent, we buy data from sources which show consumer engagement." This includes search, display ad and email interactions, and mobile app usage — by time of day, day of week, location; all signals of what a consumer is seeking to do in the context of a specific place and time. "We digest as many digital signals as we can."

Based on appending offline profiles to online data, Valassis develops media plans for defined consumer segments, across the best combination of channels — including print media, but using digital media, he said, "to reinforce the brand message with display ads and mobile messaging when the consumer is geographically close to a place of business."

Case by case

Tran emphasized that Valassis has been able to "prove attribution" in the context of foot traffic campaigns. For a quick service restaurant chain, for example, Valassis showed a waste of ad dollars running campaigns in cold weather. Once the temperature crawled above 55 degrees, desktop banners, plus targeted mobile ads — including directions and incentives, and limited to consumers within walking distance on weekday lunchtimes — generated a 135% increase in foot traffic over a controls. The campaign reached 29 million consumers, and also produced a lift in repeat visits (54%) among those reached.

In the case of a rent-to-own furniture retailer, Valassis Apio (proprietary enhanced targeting methodology) matched traditional offline targeting tactics with cross-device matching to deliver a multi-channel campaign of shared print inserts, as well as standard desktop and mobile display ads (using cross-device tracking). The results? A 23.5% attributable increase in foot traffic, an increase of almost 20% in rental agreements, and a 3.4X ROI.

The relevance of print

"I love print," Tran insisted. "But I do believe print, digital, audio, video, all have a place and time in business live. Depending on the business, and the campaign objectives, different channels will be relevant."

Tran made a strong case for print's relevance, especially for "habitual" purchases like food. Messages on Facebook or Twitter are seen, and then vanish. "Print media sits on a coffee table or kitchen counter." It can be seen by multiple consumers. "It doesn't mean they'll look for a deal in the moment, but the constant touch-point maintains brand relevance." 

In big box retail, in the "shopping moment," of course, mobile takes center stage; but when it comes to considered purchases — like automobiles — the combination of print and digital ("beautiful images") is highly relevant. Best-of-breed targeting, the right channels, "all wrapped with a beautiful ribbon."

Author: Kim Davis

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Bauer Media Study Reveals Surprises for Print

By: Caysey Welton

How do you help grow your print advertising business? Well, in Bauer Media’s case you commission a third-party research firm to confirm what you already believe—readers still love print. Bauer hired Equation Research last fall to survey its readers and learn more about their passions and how they engage with and consume content. The study polled more than 600 females, ages 18-64 who bought one or more magazines from Bauer or a competitor.

The study reveals a slew of insights that should, at the very least, raise an eyebrow for prospective advertising clients. More than three-quarters of respondents (84%) said they find themselves more engaged when reading a print magazine, versus consuming other forms of content, including online and on television.

Ian Scott, president of advertising sales at Bauer, suggests to min that the statistic is less surprising than what readers said about the ads within his magazines. More than half the respondents (55%) said they enjoy ads more in magazines, compared to reading or viewing similar content on TV. What’s more, nearly as many (53%) readers of First for Women and Woman’s World said that the advertising was an important part of why they read said magazines. Further, three out of four readers of Life & Style and In Touch suggest the ads featured are products they are interested in. Rolled up, the message is pretty clear: Bauer’s readers like print and print advertising. Scott echos this, saying, “It supports the idea that advertising matters in our magazine and people like it.” He goes on to say, “we outperformed our competitive segment by 152% with advertising being more valuable.”

It’s no secret that Bauer’s bread and butter has been newsstand sales. In fact, the company has been bullish in that arena by launching a pile of newsstand-driven titles over the past few years and announcing an aggressive SIPs strategy for 2017. What’s more, Bauer limits the number of ads in its magazines, but Scott says that doesn’t mean advertising isn’t hugely important, but he does emphasize that “it’s underpinned by our content.”

So besides providing a warm, fuzzy feeling to Bauer and its team of execs, what does this study really offer the company? Scott suggests it will be a powerful sales tool moving forward. “We just finished our national sales meeting and this was the crux of the meeting,” he says. “I will be going across the country in every market to present this research. That’s our focus over the next three months—to get this research out there to every client we can.”

Author: Caysey Welton

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Digital Print: The Emerging Opportunity for Magazines & Catalogs

By: Ellen Harvey & Denis Wilson

Publishers have often spoken fondly of the potential of the “magazine of one” where all content and advertising is customized to readers’ interests. However, this concept has always been conceived in electronic formats.

Developments in digital printing technology (especially inkjet) combined with publishers’ rich audience data, are presenting new ways for publishers to develop print products that are as customizable as online experiences.

Speakers at Digital Print: The Emerging Opportunity Magazines & Catalogs explored how improvements in digital printing technology have raised the quality of digital printed pages while the price to print digital is declining.

For advertisers the value is clear: the ability to reach the right people with a high-impact print experience is especially enticing.

At the event, printers and equipment manufacturers presented case studies where they’ve worked with magazine and catalog publishers to develop targeted and personalized publications.

Keynote speaker Marco Boer of IT Strategies kicked off the evening with a look at trends in print publications from now until 2020. Looking at the numbers of magazine and catalog pages printed in North America is jaw dropping. Marco predicts that the total printed page volume for magazines and catalogs will fall by about 60% from 2007 to 2020. Yet, publication pages will still account for 35% of total page volume by 2020.

Digital printing remains a specialty in terms of page volume, just 1.3% of all pages printed by 2020. But as Boer put it, specialty doesn’t mean digital printing is inconsequential. That’s because digital printed pages present opportunities for publishers to capture new revenue and develop new products.

Overall, print has a fit in today’s digital world, says Boer. “That doesn’t mean it will come back to what it was, but industries are reexamining the role that it plays.”

Speakers from equipment manufacturers and printers explained how they’re helping magazine publishers and catalogers drive new revenue using digital print technology. For example, Canon’s segment marketing manager Tonya Powers and Trend Offset Printing’s VP of sales Jeff Thompson explained how digital printing can make it easier and more affordable for publishers to version their publications. Target Marketing, a sister publication of Publishing Executive, worked with Trend Offset Printing to develop a digitally-printed magazine targeted to marketers in the financial industry. The goal was to create a smaller magazine that drove more value to a specific group of readers and advertisers. The special edition features the subscriber’s name on the cover, a sponsor logo on the cover, and ads from companies that want to get their message in front of financial marketers. Target Marketing plans to create other versions that are targeted to verticals, like automotive and healthcare, and sell higher value ads to companies interested in reaching these audiences.

Kodak’s director of worldwide sales and marketing Will Mansfield said that magazine publishers can also feature ads customized to the individual using digital printing technology. For example, publishers can print an ad with a unique promotion code for each of their subscribers. The subscriber can then enter that code on the advertisers’ site to receive a discount or win a free gift. Then the advertiser knows exactly which readers engaged with the ad. Likewise, publishers can use their own codes to give readers free access to content that is behind a paywall. Publishers can track which readers used the code and nurture them toward a paid subscription. Publishers can digitally print these codes in a special edition of their magazine, or on an insert page that is added to the regular issue.

Catalogers are using their online ecommerce data to deliver personalized print publications to their customers. For example, catalogers can target promotions, article headlines, and content on an individual level to their customers based on past purchases and demographic data. That level of personalization is helping catalogers significantly increase conversions, said HP marketing manager of Core PageWide Web Press Mark Johnson.

The biggest takeaway from the event was that digital printing is not replacing the offset-printed publications magazine publishers and catalogers already produce. Rather, digital printing is allowing these publishers to create new print and advertising products and create new value for readers and advertisers. As personalization becomes the norm in digital content, consumers and advertisers will come to expect similar experiences in print. This is an opportunity that publishers and catalogers cannot ignore.