Last year we talked a lot about the synergy between print and digital; in fact they’ve been called the new marketing power couple. Marketers have learned the hard way that “easy” is not a good measuring stick for effective marketing, and the digital-only mantra is seldom heard these days. Taking its place is the more strategic approach that uses digital and print in partnership, leveraging today’s technology and data, to measurably improve campaign results.
At the heart of this improved ROI is a simple idea – you’ll get better results if you create a better user experience. For publishers, it’s imperative to improve the subscriber experience across all channels to build a stronger, more sustainable relationship.
“Subscriber profiles vary greatly, even within a single publication, and they are all seeking different experiences based on who they are, where they are and what devices they use throughout the day,” writes Ana Lobb, MPP Global’s VP of media and publishing in an opinion piece in FIPP.
“With more information than ever before about who audiences are and how they consume media, publishers should be considering every option to keep their subscribers engaged with personalised bundled offerings. Technology not only makes it easier for us to understand what subscribers want, it also makes it easier for us to deliver those experiences,” she continues.
We see this idea of personalization across the spectrum of consumer experiences, from corporate events to retail shopping to health and wellness. We demand a personalized experience in exchange for all that data we allow brands to collect, including our favorite publishers, regardless of channel.
“Unsurprisingly, print-first and digital-first subscribers engage with content differently, and they have different expectations,” Lobb continues. “Many print-first subscribers are older, and generally, they’ve subscribed to a publication for a few years. Print-first subscribers do engage with digital, and they also share content even more than digital subscribers do.
“That said, the digital-first subscriber still has an interest in print,” Lobb continues. “This is the reason several digital publishers have introduced print magazines in recent years, and some nascent publishers have introduced new, print-first publications into the world in small batches. Even Facebook recently launched a print magazine called Grow.”
The dramatic shift in the publishing industry has forced publishers to get savvier with their first party data. And as they do this, we are seeing a rise in branded print as a marketing vehicle. For media brands, unlocking the power of their reader data is leading to a new understanding of where, how and why to connect.
Will the publishing world go all digital? IF it ever does (I believe print will always have a role in the consumer relationship and the marketing plan – the ROI is too solid for this to go away), Lobb believes it’s still years off. For the present, go back to your audience and figure out what they want.
“The point here is that it needs to be about the customer,” Lobb concludes. “With many loyal readers still reliant on print, it is still ‘vital’ in the world of publishing.”
While Lobb notes that many brands are working to transition print readers to digital, there is a risk of alienating your audience if you push that too hard.
“Print isn’t going away tomorrow, and since your longest-standing subscribers probably still love it, why not make it easy for them to keep receiving magazines and newspapers at their door?”
Why not, indeed.