|In one of our 60 interviews with Australia's leading media decisionmakers Media Trends+Strategy spoke to Georgina Brujic, Managing Director of Text Pacific Publishing on the challenges, successes and future of custom publishing in Australia.
There has been significant growth in custom publishing, particularly in the UK over the past few years. How do you think the local industry can benefit or learn from their success?
The Australian environment is significantly different to that of the UK however there are some learnings to be gained and we have certainly put those to good use. To benefit from the strength of custom publishing, a number of publishing companies in the UK have been purchased by advertising agencies - this is not the case in Australia where custom agencies are either small independents or owned by media companies.
While the industry has grown in the UK, there have also been a number of closures and these have generally been as a result of reliance on a single revenue stream - usually advertising. In Australia, marketers tend to have shorter-term goals than their UK counterparts - custom magazines are a long-term tool, not really suitable for short-term gains. This has resulted in magazines coming and going with a frequency that has not enabled them to gain traction in the market, for both advertisers and customers.
What is the value proposition for custom publishing when presenting to a potential client, especially given the tough economic climate?
The real value proposition of a custom magazine is the opportunity to build brand loyalty and increase spend from existing customers. It's obviously cheaper to retain existing customers rather than acquire new customers and custom magazines are effective tools at increasing incremental spend. One of the benefits of a custom title is that it is a targeted message going to a targeted audience who, for the most part, have an existing relationship with the brand and are open to receiving relevant information. In this medium, price becomes less of an issue and the relationship is built on engagement, service and quality. This ensures that these customers become increasingly loyal and decreasingly price sensitive.
Is it essential to offer an integrated solution with print and online? Can you give an example of how it is working in the custom publishing arena?
Custom publishing is not synonymous with magazines to the exclusion of other media, although they have been and will continue to be the foundation of most custom accounts for the foreseeable future. Magazines are something with which consumers are familiar and have an existing relationship. A key part of a successful custom communication is the ability to create and/or re-purpose content for online, mobile and video applications.
Weight Watchers magazine is an excellent example of a product that has transitioned from custom to consumer and that is integrated across various media and the company as a whole. The magazine supports the program and has a presence in meetings as well as at retail. The magazine also supports the organisation's online program, supermarket food lines and is utitlised in marketing initiatives such as Slimmer of the Year.
How are you measuring effectiveness of your publications? What specific metrics are clients asking for?
Research is the key differentiator between us and the small players. We are able to draw on Roy Morgan data, MMS, Pacific Insights - Pacific Magazines' research division, reader surveys, competition entries and brand recognition measures. We apply the learnings from consumer and larger custom titles to all the brands we work with. As each magazine we create has an individual objective, the measure of success is different for each one. The easiest measure of success is an increase in sales for product featured in the magazine and this has certainly been the case with our retail clients such as National Pharmacies and insurance clients such as HBF and HCF. Reader surveys in magazines such as Weight Watchers have resulted in a strong response indicating a highly engaged readership who are inspired and motivated by the magazine.
Do you think there is a need for industry-wide initiatives to promote the value of custom publishing?
As a leading player in the custom market and one who has forged the way for many of the businesses who have come after us, we have not actively sought to create an industry body. We feel that our extensive resources and research is what differentiates us from the smaller, less established organisations in the market and we would prefer to succeed on our own merits.
OPINION/FEEDBACK TO THE EDITOR