Study: Print catalogs encourage online and offline purchases

Print catalogs mailbox

62 percent of shoppers that made purchases after receiving print catalogs said the purchase was influenced by the catalog.

This finding comes from a new study by InfoTrend examining how print materials in influence retail purchases online and at brick and mortar stores.

We’ve written about the resurgence of print catalogs (from companies as diverse as JC Penney and AirBnB), and the new study is a great look into how consumers are responding to the catalogs.

“Catalogs are effective at triggering online and retail purchases,” said Barb Pellow, Group Director of InfoTrends’ Consulting Group, in a press release. “62% of consumers receiving catalogs who made a purchase within the last 3 months were influenced by the catalog.”

The study found that although shoppers were influenced by big, well-known brands like IKEA, L.L. Bean and Victoria’s Secret, they also were paying attention to print catalogs from small businesses.

“The market is shifting to away from the big book, general catalogs to smaller titles targeted at niche segments,” said the press release.

Print catalogs were found useful across a variety of demographics. The study found “no dramatic differences when comparing age groups or in terms of income, gender, or parents/non-parents.” Catalog trends in both North America and Western Europe were studied.

The study also looked at direct mail, including marketing collateral like flyers, brochures, letters and postcards.

Not only is two-thirds of direct mail looked at, but over 40 percent of consumers make purchases because of direct mail they’ve received. This marketing channel continues to be an effective way to drive sales, both in-store and online.

Print catalogs clearly remain an important part of a multi-channel marketing strategy for companies small and large. Contact Colorwise today on more about how the print collateral we print can improve your marketing goals.

Photo source: Flickr

Print Today: Measuring Advertising Effectiveness

It’s news to some people: print advertising is sticking around. But methods of measuring the advertising effectiveness of print is changing. Or, it should be.

Studies show that we consumers are neurologically disposed to respond better to print ads in certain situations – and this is not just true of the old folks, either. Studies show that while Millennials are more influenced by digital ads than other age groups, they pay more attention to traditional ads.

Recently, the Wall Street Journal released the following chart, and it’s no surprise that ad spending on print has dropped in recent years while spending on digital ads has accelerated. But look at what happens to print in the next few years: print spending will remain around the same level where it is today.

Total Media Ad Spending - WSJ Chart

Print clearly will remain a major advertising player, but for it to complement digital and other types of advertising we must focus on better ways of reporting the effectiveness of print advertising. Particularly, we must be able to measure the ROI of print not only on its own, but also in relation to other advertising platforms. Of course, this is easier said than done.

One of the clear advantages of digital advertising is how easy it is to gather data about the performance of ads. When a potential customer clicks on your ad, you can see not only exactly where they came from to get to your site, but also how they then interact once on your site. When enough data is collected you can adjust your marketing plan accordingly.

The Difficulties in Measuring Advertising Effectiveness in Print

Print advertising, however, is not always so simple to quantify.

The use of a QR code once seemed like the answer; the natural link between print and digital. Just like a click on the digital ad, the information transferred from a QR scan provides a wealth of information about where the consumer viewing the ad came from.

But the codes have never taken off with the public as much as marketers might like. Even the inventor of the code recently said it (the code) only has a decade or so left to live. Though he was referring to the original use of the codes in warehouse and manufacturing settings, it is likely that the same is true for advertising.

So we are left to focus on creating better methods to measure the performance of print advertising.

A New Kind of Measurement Tool

A new tool that aims to offer new insights into print advertising effectiveness is the Magazine Audience Performing Predictor (mapp), which delivers performance data of magazine ads within 14 days of the issue’s on-sale date. This is as close to real time performance results for magazine ads as we currently have available. A collaborative effort of Magazine Publishers of Australia (MPA) – and thus far only available for Australian magazines – the tool recently received a global award at the FIPP Research Forum.

Magazine Audience Performance Predictor (Mapp) Logo

Here’s the description of the tool on the MPA website:

Using mapp advertisers can now access timely, real-time measures of current magazine issue performance and magazine audience build over time. [It] enables magazines to be evaluated more accurately in advertisers’ marketing and media models, using a weekly timeframe of performance, alongside other media and key indicators, such as sales. mapp provides, within a week or two after the on-sale date, estimates of the total ratings that specific magazine issues will achieve over their lifespan.

“mapp is a truly innovative project, which quantifies the contribution of magazines to the media mix in a manner that is in line with the forms of data available for other media,” said FIPP’s judges, according to ProPrint.com. “It involves forecasting how advertising messages in magazines will be spread through time, issue by issue.”

What’s Next?

The service is still relatively new, so its effectiveness remains to be seen. Still, it’s great to see innovations coming to magazine ad measuring techniques.

As print spending stabilizes, advertisers will have a better idea of how much they need to spend on print, but the new question will be what print venues will be the best investment. And they will be looking to new tools like mapp to help them make these decisions in context to their publications.

The Future is Cross Platform

As mentioned above, print advertisers not only want better ROI measurements, but also want to know how these ads function in context of their other advertising platforms. Forbes emphasized the importance of measuring multiple platforms at once with the article, “2014: The Year of the Cross Platform Measurement.”

Much of the article is focused on traditional television v. digital video consumption. But the parallels to the print medium are many. Television advertisers are still relying heavily on the traditional ratings measurement tools, while the rise of digital television consumption is sharp (a 30 percent rise from the final quarter of 2012 to the final quarter of 2013). Needless to say, it is now imperative to not only be able to measure both traditional and digital TV viewing, but to be able to be able to combine that data to get an accurate picture of the viewing audience.

Similarly, print advertisers still rely primarily on circulation numbers that are becoming more and more unreliable as reading habits change. While it is easier to measure digital reading habits, being able to discover what reader is reading one article in a magazine and then another (in the same publication) online will put advertisers in a much better position. It will also be a great way for publishers to give advertisers a better representation of not only how many but how readers are reading the material. Of course, this will allow them to better optimize advertising rates.

What Does it Mean Now?

The good news: print advertising is sticking around and the previous decline in print ad sales will level off. This means advertisers are realizing where the advantages of print advertising lies in relation to digital ads and how the two can complement each other.

The bad news: we don’t yet have a great way to measure the results of this cross-platform approach.

However, it is likely that new tools similar to mapp will continue to emerge to fill this void. It remains to be seen just how effective they will be, but we’ll be looking forward to seeing more effective print advertising measuring techniques emerge as we move forward into this new era of advertising.

 

“Think Different” image source: Wikimedia Commons

Refinery29 Distributes Print Magazines Via Uber

print-magazines

It seems we can’t cover print news recently without discovering a new digital company that has turned to print magazines as part of its marketing strategy. One of the latest is fashion and style website Refinery29, though the distribution method the company is using to get the magazines to its audience may be just as noteworthy than the magazines themselves.

The company placed 30,000 copies of its first printed magazine in the cars of rideshare company Uber, according to Advertising Age. The move may serve to distinguish Refinery29 from other brands during this year’s New York Fashion Week.

Know Your Audience and Go to Them

One of the first rules of marketing is to know your audience and how to get your message to that audience. Refinery29 clearly recognizes how important this is and is using the new print campaign to bring their brand directly into the hands of their target audience.

Not only does the company realize that a ton of fashion-conscious women will flood New York City during Fashion Week, they also recognize that many of them will use Uber to get around. They recognize that those using Uber may have more disposable income than those that take the subway, and – because they chose Uber – may know more about current trends than those that hail a taxi.

Using print magazines in conjunction with new technology, Refinery29 is able to put print magazines physically in front of some of its target audience.

Once Again, Old Meets New

In addition to the campaign being a unique branding opportunity, the partnership with Uber once again illustrates how new digital opportunities can work in conjunction with existing technology – not in competition with it.

Uber has built a widely successful company based on providing the familiar service of getting customers from one place to another in cars. But the company turned the existing taxi and rideshare industry on its head by allowing users to summon a car – and then pay for their ride -on their smartphone. Additionally, Uber often is cheaper than existing alternatives.

This model shows how using new digital technology can work to improve existing technology and services, not replace them altogether. Refinery29 is doing a similar thing by using print magazines to complement its website.

One Off Print Magazines

The magazine, called Refinery29 Editions, is 28 pages with no advertisements. A company spokeswoman told AdAge that the magazine will serve as a bridge between the online world and real-world events. However, there are no current plans to produce further editions.

Image Source: Flickr

Travel Industry Digital Company Skift Turns to Print

print-magazines

Travel industry site Skift is the next in a long line of digital media companies to release print magazines.

As we recently wrote, the concept of a digital-only company turning to print may seem a bit counterintuitive, but Skift joins other companies including Airbnb, Pitchfork and CNET in seeing a place for print in their marketing efforts.

Skift founder and CEO Rafat Ali says the new print magazine will be an extension of the site’s annual travel trend forecast, which is the most popular portion of the site every year.

“We sort of took the next logical step and said we should create something even more permanent than that, which is a print magazine that sort of encapsulates what we’re trying to do in terms of making a definite document in trends in travel,” he told Capital.

The magazine will be released at launch party January 13, and also will be sent to a list of targeted recipients. Ali also says it will be used to add a new revenue stream for the company.

“I do think that print still has a value used strategically with a … digital-only company,” he said, adding that “advertisers still love print magazines, and they love seeing themselves in [them].”

A Future with Both Digital & Print

Clearly, many digital brands see the promise in print marketing as a marketing tool, and though some are already reporting positive results it is still too early to see the long-term impact print will have on a digital brand.

Ali’s recognition of the fact that brands still like to see their ads in print falls in line with research showing consumers respond better to print ads than digital ads. It’s no wonder that media spending on print is expected to level off for the foreseeable future after the recent decline.

The new trend also illustrates how effective marketing collateral is increasingly becoming a mixture of print and digital. To see more about what kind of print materials we have and how we can help print work for your business, drop us a line on our contact page and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Airbnb Latest Tech Company to Launch Print Magazine

Airbnb Print Magazine Pineapple

Airbnb recently became the latest tech company to turn to print marketing with the reveal of its new print magazine, Pineapple.

Many companies have been adding digital elements to their traditional marketing strategies for years now. This move typically began with a website and grew to include intricate digital strategies like social media, mobile apps, email marketing and much more.

But what about the companies that began in the digital realm? As the digital landscape becomes increasingly crowded, many are looking for ways to distinguish themselves and this often means moving toward print marketing, as counterintuitive as it may seem.

For Airbnb, print is the distinctive element. Here’s how the company describes the purpose of the magazine:

This is a printed magazine where honest stories are told by the unexpected characters of our community. It is a crossroad of travel and anthropology; a document of community, belonging and shared space.

Speaking to AdWeek, Airbnb CEO Jonathan Mildenhall said the magazine “will combine the emotional and practical sides of traveling by giving a comprehensive guide to neighborhoods and cities, as well as capturing the sense of belonging that comes from a memorable trip.”

It’s telling that the word “belonging” shows up in both descriptions. The company touts the slogan “Belong Anywhere” across its website, focusing heavily on the community it fosters among its users.

*Sidenote: The name Pineapple comes from colonial New England, where the fruit was a symbol of hospitality.

Building a Tech Brand Through Print

When it comes down to it, Airbnb essentially does one thing: hosts use the service to provide a room (or rooms) in their homes to Airbnb users (typically travelers). The company is providing the service and not the product, which is why the focus on building community is so important.

“Airbnb may not be supplying the end product, but it’s sure selling an experience,” writes Tessa Wegert at Contently.com, “and when a brand facilitates a P2P [peer-to-peer] service it has to gain the trust of users on all sides.” The article also highlights an Altimeter Group report naming a “desire for community” as a driving force behind Airbnb’s success.

In theory, strangers staying in strangers’ houses and sleeping in their beds seems a little creepy. But knowing that you “Belong Anywhere” – or, are a part of a community – makes the arrangement more inviting. The more people know of, talk about and use Airbnb, the less it seems like an anomaly to stay in someone else’s home; it begins to feel like you are part of something bigger.

Part of what has led to the growth of Airbnb is travelers that have used the service recounting their experience to others. Pineapple is the latest attempt to scale that sharing on a larger scale.

Why a Print Magazine Helps Airbnb

The magazine spreads the company’s message through feature articles and photo spreads on three Airbnb cities: London, Seoul and San Francisco (the latter is where Airbnb is based). Exemplifying the company’s community-first message, the article on San Francisco doesn’t focus on the city as a whole, but rather individual San Fran neighborhood of Outer Sunset.

The four-color, glossy magazine features articles and photography from freelancers, though the magazine was put created and managed by an internal team at the company. Noticeably, the first issue has no ads – the bill is being footed by the company. However, Andrew Schapiro, head of brand creative for Airbnb, told the New York Times that the company is looking at “ways of scaling this idea going forward.”

Schapiro also told the Times that 18,000 copies of the magazine will be distributed to Airbnb hosts internationally, and that a limited number will be available in bookstores in North America and Europe.

Building Brand Loyalty Online

So far it appears the company’s approach is working. According to Inc. – which coincidentally just named Airbnb its 2014 Company of the Year – the service now has 800,000 host listings worldwide along with 20 million users. Of those, 10 million used the service in 2014 alone. For comparison: Airbnb offers more lodging than any hotel chain worldwide.

That last statistic may be somewhat related to Airbnb’s goal for the magazine. The NYTimes article quotes NYU professor Bjorn Hanson as saying most hotel brands offer “a publication of some form,” and Pineapple “continues to position Airbnb as a legitimate hotel brand.”

While the company serves as something of an alternative to hotels, that doesn’t mean it can’t steal a thing or two from the playbook of the hotel industry. Namely, fostering brand loyalty for a service that exists online. This may prove difficult for a company that, again, offers no actual end product. But Pineapple is a physical reminder of the Airbnb brand and it aims to foster.


 

A Post Script: Other Digital Companies in the Print World

Airbnb is not the only tech company moving into the print world. Another high profile company that has launched a print magazine is CNET, one of the oldest online tech publications. Music site Pitchfork launched the quarterly Pitchfork Review in December 2013, and Editorialist – a fashion accessories site founded by former Elle editors – launched a biannual print magazine that has seen good results so far.

Speaking to AdWeek, Editorialist co-founder Kate Davidson Hudson said the site has seen a “huge uptick” in conversion of the online version of content that appeared in the hard copy magazine.

“We were making an effort to find out how we can be at all of our users’ touch points throughout their day,” said Davidson Hudson. “The big missing piece of that puzzle, ironically, was having a tangible medium to connect with them on.”

AdWeek points out that, in this case, the tangible medium grants access to consumers that may not go online first: e.g. “older women who are in the market for a $1,000 bag but might not look for it on the Web.”

This last part speaks to why digital companies are turning to print, and why in many cases the move is successful. The move ensures yet another avenue of interaction with customers, and in many cases that means a whole new way of interacting offline.

It has been proven that there are differences between reading online and reading print, and this is part of what makes the printed magazine useful to some digital companies. It’s certainly not great strategy for every digital company to start issuing print magazines, but some are clearly finding that it’s a great way to expand their brand and add a new aspect to their marketing campaigns with print.

 

Online Reading vs. Print Reading

Online Reading vs Print Reading Study

A new study from the University of Houston shows that those reading print publications remember more than online readers. The new research echoes similar findings concerning digital versus print advertisements, and adds new theories into just why print reading leads to better retention than online reading.

“All the News That’s Fit to Print

The study examined two groups of college students – the first read the print edition of the New York Times for 20 minutes; the second group read the digital edition of the same day’s paper for the same amount of time. Each group had been asked to undergo a news blackout prior to the study.

After the 20 minute reading session, the participants were asked to note as much as they could remember about what they had read, including headlines, main points and general topics of articles. The groups were not informed of this task before they began reading.

The group that read the print edition of the paper remembered an average of 4.24 news stories, while the online readers remembered an average of 3.35 stories.

“As the U.S. public gets its news more from online newspapers and less from print, new questions have arisen about the differences of both reading experiences,” said Arthur D. Santana, an assistant professor at the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication at the University of Houston and principal investigator of the study.

“In essence, print newspapers are a more effective medium than online newspapers at spurring recollection,” he continued.

Print Reading is More Effective than Online Reading

The study also looks into why print readers tend to retain more than digital readers. Santana also makes some points on the broader implications of the report’s findings. Particularly interesting is the implication that we don’t remember as much of what we read online simply because we don’t have to remember it.

“The knowledge that the information they can find online, even if it disappears after reading, is immediately electronically archived and thus imminently retrievable may make readers less apt to feel they need to store it in their memory,” said Santana.

On the other hand, when reading print we typically are focused directly on what is before us.

“The nature of the Web as a medium that has subsumed virtually all others makes it a site for a variety of uses, including commerce, communication, gaming, and of course, news,” Santana said. “The print newspaper, however, is generally dedicated mostly to news, thus in choosing a particular medium, users bring preformed attitudes about what to expect.”

How Is This Translating to the Real World?

While the study focuses on the differences between these two readership groups, another new study released at roughly the same time illustrates how news media is beginning to look at its audience without a divide between print and online.

In fact, the announcement of the first Magazine Media 360 Report from the MPA- Association of Magazine Media was nearly as notable for how it reported magazine readership information as what it reported. While previous reports from the association reported print advertising revenue, page numbers and circulation, the new report focuses on all current magazine data, including mobile traffic, web traffic, video views and print and digital editions. A coming metric also will look at social media data for titles.

The change comes as the MPA attempts to move away from the falling traditional measurements from print from the past few years. But the move is not an attempt to hide those numbers; instead, it offers a better representation of how the magazine industry functions today.

Of course, as a printing company we want to see print circulation explode to higher levels than it ever has been, but realize that we live in a world where digital must co-exist with print, and we know the future of the industry is print material working in conjunction with digital, not in competition.

Therefore it’s with glad and optimistic eyes we see the Magazine Media 360 report finding the consumer demand for magazine media has increased 10 percent from 2013 to 2014. The primary driver of growth is a 98 percent rise in mobile web views, and the study finds print and digital editions essentially holding steady with 2.1 percent growth over the year (print and digital are not separated in the report).

This hold steady pattern is inline with print ad spending, which has leveled off after a (highly publicized) period of decline. Industry experts see businesses and publishers recognizing the areas where print is still important and incorporating print and digital together into their larger sales and marketing plans.

Combining Print & Digital Strategies

What this means is that publications and businesses should not necessarily view the University of Houston study as a reason to focus on print, but instead as a way to decide what items will perform better in print and which will work better online. Of course, there will be some overlap and these trends will continue to be ironed out in the future. The University of Houston study shows that print remains extremely important, while the MPA report suggests that print activities must be combined with digital efforts to be most effective.

Image source: Flickr

Welcome to the new Colorwise.

Greetings from Atlanta, Georgia Postcard

Welcome to the new Colorwise website, that is. When it comes to printing, we’re the same print company that has offered the finest quality with the best customer service for over two decades now.

However, as part of our efforts to best serve our customers we want to make sure our website meets the demands of our current and future commercial print customers. We have worked hard on BestBookPrinting.com – which serves as a resource for our book printing division – and we want Colorwise.com to be just as useful to anyone interested in commercial printing.

Therefore we’re including all the basics you need to know about our company, as well as additional resources about the printing industry that will hopefully be informative and interesting.

Stay tuned to this blog for more information in the months and years to come. If social media is more your speed, we’ll also keep you up-to-date through our Facebook and Twitter homes.

Customer Service

With all that said, we know that once it is time to choose a print company, the most important factors are the aforementioned quality of the product and the customer service offered by the company.

That’s what always will be our main focus, and this website is just another facet of that. So if you have a project you need printed or just questions about a printing, give us a call at 770.664.8199 or drop us an email at info@colorwise.com.

We’ll be glad to provide any information you need, and if you need a quote we’ll have it back to you within 24 hours. In most cases we’ll have it back to you in less than four hours.

This speed is just one of the things that makes us different from others in the industry. Contact us to find out about the many other factors that distinguish Colorwise.

Image Source: Flickr