10 simple questions to find out if your company needs a custom publication.

Here are a list of ten questions that every company contemplating on the big question, to publish or not to publish an in-house magazine, has to ask itself. Go ahead, in the next few minutes, you’ll know whether  custom publishing can make a difference to your company. Or Not.

1. Are you convinced that mass market advertising is just not worth it?

Have you seen the signs? Look around. Most companies spend millions of dollars every quarter on advertising. But on a closer look, the Return On Investment on this mode of publicity is outrageously weak. On the other hand, we have companies like Burger King and Red Bull that are legendary for their marketing strategies. Most readers spend an average of 50 minutes reading lifestyle magazines. Readers indulging in custom in-house magazines spend an average of 35 minutes on a particular issue! So if you’re spending millions annually on gatefolds in lifestyle publications just to catch a magazine reader’s attention for around 10 seconds, think about it. With a custom publication, you’re spending a fraction, and getting the attention of a genuinely interested reader for 35 minutes, which is calculably, a 21,000% increase in reader attention!

2. Do you have a Scattered Target Audience?

Are you involved in the hospitality or tourism industry, or something along those lines? Target audiences in cases like these are varied and spread across the world. To a certain extent, reputed hospitals in India too have similar scenarios of catering to patients from all parts of the world. Where could traditional advertising help in such cases? The ROI in such cases would just not fit the big picture. A custom publication that’s distributed on a regular basis to specific representative bodies and places of information across the world can make a huge difference and actually generate a lot more talk, and several folds increase in Return On Investment. In-house magazines also have a bigger impact once it’s in the hands of a happy customer who’s taking the magazine across the oceans.

3. Do you want your customers to have a nice time?

Companies that deal directly with their customers over a longer duration than regular interactions want them to have a good time. Industries like aviation, hotels, tourism, luxury spas and resorts think of innovative ways to keep their customers entertained. Are you a part of this industry? You may have brochures and fancy checklists that talk about your company. You may also have a horde of glossy magazines for your guests’ entertainment. And you may also be spending a fortune on advertising, branding, and awareness campaigns. Now that’s a lot of investment! But a custom publication, created in the right hands, can help you achieve all this and more for a small fraction of the overall expenditure!

4. Do you have a large customer base?

Many companies in the world can boast of a huge database of customers, but how many of them can brag that they still have a huge database of return customers? A company publication is great to have if you want to remind your customers about your company, and also keep them updated on your new products. Big Bazaar and Metro are great examples to validate this point.

5. Do you want your customers to talk?

There are quite a few good brands that have the oomph in them to make their customers talk. And talk a lot. Swanky restaurants, a new line of fashion clothing, they’re all in that happy list. But more often than not, there’s not much a loyal customer can do even if they’re exceptionally happy with the company. They can blog, yes, but that’s only a small percentage of extremely elated customers who’d take that pain. But a good testimonial and a feature article from a satisfied customer would do wonders for you, and please your happy evangelical customer too. And guess what, good evangelists are known to create a snowball effect and create a lot more evangelists for you. With custom media, you also have a classy magazine to do the talking in the hands of your army of evangelists. The world will participate in conversations about you, one evangelist at a time!

6. Do you have frequent updates?

Are you a part of one of those companies that have updates or news every now and then? We’re talking about companies involved in clothes, cosmetics, resorts, corporate offices and others along those lines. Innovative organisations in fields like biotechnology and medical science have regular breakthroughs that need to be communicated with its members and the world around it. If you’re doing the world a lot of good, it’s probably time you let the world know enough about your company. Haven’t we all had enough of Cricket and Bollywood?

7. Do you want to favour your special customers?

Every company has its own favourite or preferred customers. Do you have them too? Perhaps, you may be in need of the assistance of custom publishing. Maintaining a steady flow of die-hard customers will only ensure the creation of more. Several mega stores, banks and credit card companies have their own premium members and use custom magazines to interact with them. And you know what, not only is it a self-sustaining medium, it also generates profits for you! That’s two birds with one stone for you.

8. Does traditional advertising really help you?

There are a few niche segments where broadsheet and glossy advertising doesn’t really make a difference. The only thing that makes a difference is word-of-mouth. Are you a part of an organisation that runs along these lines? Schools, colleges and hospitals, much like custom media applications, are systems that run on recommendations, ideas and results. No amount of advertising can replace a few good ideas and recommendations. And custom magazines are the perfect medium to exchange ideas, talk about new technologies and theories, and also show off recommendations and praises.

9. Do you have a product that’s exclusive or just too niche?

Are you one of those entrepreneurs who have all the funding and just launched a new niche product? Perhaps, you could be a breeder of equestrian gallops, a yacht builder, a maker of large manufacturing units, or something along those lines. A Times of India full front page or an Outlook pull-out may be expensive and worth the number of eyes that screen the page, but are all those eyes your potential clients? A small, badly created magazine may cater to your niche, but is it any good for your branding? A custom publication can have a gargantuan impact when compared to any other medium, especially when you’re involved in niche segments.

10. Do you want your customers to remember you?

Most companies want their customers to remember them. Well, unless that particular customer in Hannibal or Attila the Hun. In that case, the company’s better off not having that customer in the first place. But without drifting any further, do you remember the time when you went out for dinner and halfway through dinner, the maitre d’hotel walks to your table and offers you a complimentary drink of the finest scotch in the house?  It felt good, didn’t it? Warm and fuzzy! Moments like these are hard to forget (at least the first few times for some of the seasoned cheapskates who want it all for free). So when you’re the boss, think along the same lines. Gifts like a complimentary, informative magazine filled with relevant features are an interesting gift to get, and it’s informative. And if its published and loaded with little exotic wares like one of those fancy fragrance gift packs, who’s not going to love it? And ahem, who’s going to forget it?

Bonus Tip: Additional Revenues

A custom publication isn’t just about branding, awareness, and increased customer-company interaction. It can also generate a lot of additional revenues. If you cater to a sizeable target audience that fits into a niche segment, there will always be potential advertisers that want to use your publication to reach out to your exclusive “guest list”. And chances are, in due course of time, in some cases within the very first issue, the profits you make by accepting advertising offers could actually be more than twice the amount you’ve spent on the magazine! Trust me, a new magazine that is published by my company, Confetti Media, has already seen close to 200% profits in the very first issue. Are you interested in knowing more about it? Write to me, I’ll send you one!

The Verdict

All said and done, traditional media isn’t dead. It’s still one of the good ways to reach out to the general audience and increase awareness about a particular product. But what matters is whether or not it’s worth the effort, considering the low efficiency of ROI, and the inefficiency of traditional media when it comes to niche markets and luxury services. Considering these circumstances, Custom Media applications and in-house publications cost a fraction of traditional media investment, and deliver more. A lot more.

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