Custom evolution by ProQuest


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									        12 | DMNEWS | April 6, 2009 |


        By Lauren Bell                                                                                                                                             “Retention or loyalty efforts are
        : If you went out and spent $70,000                                                                                                                      enhanced by building community, and
        on a single good, wouldn’t you want                                                                                                                      you build community online,” points
        some special attention and recogni-                                                                                                                      out Marcie Avram, associate publisher
        tion? Luxury car company Lexus has                                                                                                                       of marketing and business develop-

        long known that its customers appreci-                                                                                                                   ment at Rodale Custom Publishing.
        ate engagement, as evidenced by the
        2002 launch of a global custom pub-                                                                                                                      The increase in channels available
        lishing campaign. But the evolution                                                                                                                      to custom publishers and their clients
        of Lexus’ brand marketing strategy                                                                                                                       also calls for more work on the pub-
        — which has grown to include a Web                                                                                                                       lisher’s end, particularly in the realm of
        site, MSN portal, e-mail newsletters,                                                                                                                    database marketing and segmentation.
        video stories, travelogues for TiVo,                                                                                                                     No longer is a single magazine printed
        streaming video for mobile phones,                                                                                                                       out and mailed to all existing clients.
        and serialized fiction, all full of custom                                                                                                                Now, different segments of a consumer
        content designed for Lexus buyers — is       Brand marketers are turning to custom publishing                                                            base receive different messages, often
        a perfect illustration of the evolution of
        custom publishing as a discipline.           more than ever, as the channel expands beyond                                                               created in different media.
                                                                                                                                                                     “Segmentation, I think, is a major
           “Twenty years ago there was this
        notion that custom publications were
                                                     print magazines to integrated content that serves                                                           trend, which fits with direct market-
                                                                                                                                                                 ing very well,” explains Waller. “The
        a nice thing to have, but now we can
        identify that they are really powerful
                                                     to increase customer loyalty                                                                                growth is in focusing on parts of the
                                                                                                                                                                 database where you can apply different
        marketing tools that not only increase                                                                                                                   models and different content approach-
        brand resonance within the audience                                                                                                                      es to different segments. What started
        but can move consumers to action,”                                                                                                                       off as talking to customers through cus-
        says Simon Kelly, COO of Story                                                                                                                           tom content has become much more
        Worldwide, which works with Lexus                                                                                                                        sophisticated and targeted.”
        on its custom publishing efforts.                                                                                                                            He adds that segmentation, though it
           More than 1.1 million current cus-                                                                                                                    takes an investment of time and money
        tomers receive issues of Lexus, a quar-                                                                                                                  up front, pays off in the long run, by
        terly magazine, and more than 80%                                                                                                                        creating more efficient and effective
        of the Lexus owner base says they feel                                                                                                                   marketing programs.
        more valued as a result of receiving                                                                                                                         Sophisticated measuring techniques
        the publication, Kelly reports. Fifteen                                                                                                                  also play a big role in custom publish-
        percent report actually having bought a                                                                                                                  ing’s growing popularity with CMOs
        vehicle as a result of reading Lexus.                                                                                                                    and marketers. Because the pieces are
           But it’s not just the magazine that                                                                                                                   so targeted and because their distribu-
        is pushing the Lexus brand — it’s the                                                                                                                    tion is highly controlled, it’s easy for
        breadth of custom content that Lexus                                                                                                                     marketers to gauge their success by
        customers receive.                                                                                                                                       measuring such metrics as ROI, churn
           “Ultimately, marketing is publish-                                                                                                                    rates and loyalty ratings. In today’s
        ing,” Kelly points out. “Marketing in                                                                                                                    tight economy, proving that a market-
        the post-advertising age, whether on                         
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