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How Short-Run Print Can Activate Lucrative Niche Audiences

By: Ellen Harvey

On the web, publishers have become adept at launching niche content verticals to engage very specific, often highly-monetizeable audiences. On the flip side, due to the economics of printing, publishers have historically had to take a one-size-fits-all approach to printed content.

However, advances in digital printing and data integration are making targeted print more feasible and in turn opening up new business opportunities for publishers. Using audience data to serve up short-run print products that are highly relevant and hence more valuable to the end user will breathe new life into publishers' print business, says John Conley, print expert and CEO of Borderland Advisers. And some publishes are already innovating in this space.

In the video above, Conley explains the business model of a hyper-targeted, digitally printed magazine called Cobblestone Living, which serves an affluent neighborhood of approximately 500 readers. A targeted magazine that serves this community is incredibly valuable to the reader and the advertiser because of its ability to serve a unique need, explains Conley. Digital printing, paired with publishers’ audience data, can unlock new revenue opportunities within hyper-targeted audiences like the one described above.

Conley is an advisor and speaker at the upcoming conference DigiPub: Harnessing the Power of Data-Driven Print. The conference will gather publishers and marketers on November 16th in NYC to discuss new opportunities in digital printing and data targeting. The conference is free to attend for executives in the magazine, catalog, and book markets. Learn more about DigiPub here.


Author: Ellen Harvey

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

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

By: Patrick Henry

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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 6 Essential Elements Of An Effective Marketing Strategy

By: Steve Olenski

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Do you sometimes get the feeling that your marketing strategy is missing something? Maybe sales leads just aren’t closing, even though you have a great product. Or perhaps your top-of-funnel efforts simply aren’t generating enough leads in the first place.

You aren’t alone. Most businesses — a full 78%  — are dissatisfied with their sales conversion rates.

Regardless of what you’re selling or where your problem lies, there are six key elements of any effective marketing strategy. Here’s a compilation of advice on those six essentials.

1. Start with a compelling story. Erin Berman, founder of Blackbeard Studios, a digital creative agency, is an established brand storyteller and inbound marketing expert who’s helped dozens of startups reach more customers.

According to Berman, effective marketing contains all of the elements of an irresistible story. These include characters (target audience); their challenges (pain points) and motivations (desired outcomes); a setting (connecting the dots); obstacles (to the desired outcome); the climax (the value your solution provides); and a conclusion (the delivery of that value).

Once you have these elements in place, you can begin to build the central message that demonstrates how your product or service takes audiences from where they are now to an ideal scenario in which their lives are improved.

Not sure where to begin? Berman advises entrepreneurs and marketers to “consider tales that captivated you and provided your greater mission in life. Don’t worry if your answer seems silly or overly complex. Get your creative juices flowing, then write.”

2. Develop technical expertise. As the number of messaging distribution channels continues to grow, the number of systems required to integrate these channels grows with it. Christine Alemany of Trailblaze Growth Advisors explains, “You have to have much more than a cursory understanding of the underlying technologies involved in the entire ecosystem to successfully establish metrics that enable you to manage a marketing program.”

As your marketing efforts mature, be sure to invest in the technology, education, and personnel required to keep them effective over the long term.

3. Coordinate your messaging. All of your marketing efforts should be based on a unified strategy, meaning you should be telling a consistent story across all channels and customer touchpoints.

Brian Clark, founder and CEO of Rainmaker Digital, says that disjointed messaging is one of the biggest obstacles to achieving meaningful ROI for digital marketing programs, but also one of the most common.

“To this day, I see people referring to content marketing, social media marketing, and search engine optimization as three different things — as if each is a tactic that can get you there alone,” he says. Instead, Clark argues that each of these tactics, and any others you use, should be part of a “holistic strategy that centers around compelling content.”

And speaking of content....

4. Content marketing leads the charge. Content should be the foundation of any modern marketing strategy. There are a lot of differing opinions about what makes content great, but above all, your content should be authentic — it should stem from your unique brand story. Unfortunately, many companies still seem to produce content for its own sake, which ultimately gets them nowhere.

Robert Rose of Content Marketing Institute asserts that “if we’re not actually building a collection of connected assets, then we’re not really building anything of investment value. What we’re building is just individual ad hoc assets that we throw against the wall and hope some stick.”

Great content is relevant to your customers and your brand, adding value for consumers in a way that aligns with your company’s larger mission.

5. Incorporate employee voices. Authentic content relies on your brand’s unique voice, and your employees are a part of that voice. As such, John Hansen of Recall Americas recommends that companies empower employees to become brand advocates. “Many organizations are reluctant to let go of control in fear of what, or how, the employees will alter the marketing message.”

Rather than fear what they might say, business leaders and marketers should encourage employees to talk about the services and value their organization provides. If you trust your employees, they’ll typically reward that trust.

6. Focus on branding, not selling. Your marketing messaging should always center on telling your story, not selling your products or services.

Instead of trying to reach everyone, your story will resonate with the customers who share your values and draw them to you. Legendary marketer Gary Vaynerchuk uses Apple as an example of a company that has mastered strategic brand storytelling.

He asks, “When, if ever, have you received an advertisement from Apple telling you to BUY their product? It never happens. Apple focuses on building a relationship.”

Apple’s marketing draws potential customers into its brand story, showing them what life is like when they live that story (by using Apple products). The results speak for themselves.

Marketing is both an art and a science, and if you’re struggling to do it right, take your cue from the experts. Focus on implementing the six critical elements outlined above, and you may even become one of them.


Author: Steve Olenski

Source: forbes.com URL: https://goo.gl/oHEJja