Brands and Bedtime Stories

goodnightipadHow retailers are getting really good at understanding their audience and when to pull them in with good storytelling.

For many in our industry, the drop in ad page sales signals an overall decline in the magazine industry. For others, like Azadeh Williams writing in CMO, it signals a different kind of change altogether.

“It’s certainly been sad times for the print magazine industry, with Australian magazine, Cleo, one of the latest casualties after declining advertising sales signalled its downfall,” Williams writes. “But at the same time, the rise of retailers now maintaining their own newsrooms, in-house journalists and magazine publications is heralding an exciting new chapter of engaging customers in more innovative and creative ways.”

We’ve been experiencing this new chapter for a while now, as more retailers seek to engage in print and become better at being lifestyle enablers. Brands that used to invest heavily in display ads in the big glossies are now adding to the industry disruption by publishing their own gorgeous, full color titles in which they can own their own stories.

“These brands are understanding that consumers’ likes and interests in traditional advertising is declining, so I don’t think they want to be associated with magazines that are just pushing ads,” said Hubspot’s Ryan Bannici. “By having your own publication, you can own that customer experience from end-to-end.”

“People keep saying all these brands are becoming publishers but I think they’re just doing what people in content marketing have been doing for a very long time,” he continued. “People don’t want to constantly be sold products, and people that are buying into these brands are buying into a lifestyle.”

It’s the essence of successful content marketing, and brands are become increasingly skilled at truly understanding their buyer personas. This, when combined with quality content provided at just the right moment when the customer is most receptive, is proving to be wildly effective at building a customer relationship.

“You need to have that publishing mindset, where you’re building an engaged audience gradually for the long term,” explains Martin Wanless of content marketing firm Mahlab Media. “It is not about a hard sell or a quick win, it’s about having a content-first mentality and understand how to tell your story to your customers.”

For brands that understand this, print can be a magical way to connect when your customers are the perfect mind set for a good story.