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Customer magazines help customers fill their baskets with content

It came as no surprise to see customer magazines dominate the latest ABC Consumer Magazine Report, with six of the top 10 performing magazines in the UK produced by brands, with retail leading all sectors with seven titles in the top 20 published for retailers including Waitrose, Tesco, Asda and Morrisons.

There is a clear pattern here: despite the circulation of paid-for print titles undoubtedly in decline, the magazine market is being underpinned by branded customer magazines in no small way. With consumer appetite for rich content showing no sign of abating, owned media and editorialised content are now an integral part of the marketing mix, particularly for retailers. And while print remains important, pushing this content onto the web and personal devices is further strengthening the consumer’s relationship with the brand.
As Marketing Week magazine put it recently: “Customer magazines bring together two strong levers of engagement and connection – branded content and direct marketing.”

Indeed the notion of bringing the shelf into the home is something which increasingly retailers are prepared to invest. More and more, retailers are taking control of their own media channels and using them to build emotional connections with their audience and increase brand loyalty. Consumers interact and engage with these titles and see it as a value exchange, and even more so when coupled with exclusive, targeted offers and promotions.

These titles are by no means a mere exercise in branding or awareness but a powerful tool in driving sales. According to statistics from the Royal Mail, 45% of customers browse through them before making a purchase online, and this is a growing trend.

The next step for retailers will surely be the task of removing any further barriers to purchase: from conviction to basket. Technology is completing this puzzle well and brands are taking advantage of the interactivity of mobile and tablet browsing to help to drive purchase directly with click-to-buy features and shopping list facilities from recipes, for instance, to push engagement beyond the page.

In an increasingly fragmented and chaotic media landscape, sustainable growth can easily be spotted and retailers want a slice for themselves.

By DMA guest blogger Patrick Fuller, Chairman, Result

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