Customer Publishing Agencies unite to Prove Effectiveness of Customer Magazines

Association of Publishing Agencies is working with its membership of customer publishing agencies and Millward Brown to launch a recognised industry approach for the measurement of customer magazines. Customer magazines are valuable marketing tools that are used to achieve a number of different marketing objectives including customer loyalty, increased sales and improved perceptions of a brand.

Although member agencies have signed up to APA research charter and undertake research on behalf of their clients, APA recognises that there is currently no consistent methodology across the industry. This means that clients and publishers are unable to compare the performance of their magazines against the market. And, in the absence of a standard industry approach, it is not possible to compare the performance of customer magazines with other marketing media.

As a result APA has been working with Millward Brown and have secured sponsorship from the Royal Mail to launch a measurement approach to benefit publishers and their clients. Brian Jacob, Executive Vice President, Global Media Evaluation Unit, at Millward Brown explains "The study will use a test and control approach to isolate the effect of customer magazines from other elements of the marketing mix. By carefully structuring the samples we can be confident that we are measuring the impact of this medium on brand health and customer relationships."

To date APA members have nominated 56 titles across all industry sectors including Automotive, Business to business, Financial, IT/Telecoms, Leisure/Travel, Property and Utilities, making it the largest research programme into customer magazines.

Julia Hutchison, Director APA, comments, "I am delighted that our members have shown such support of this research programme. They have joined together with the unified aim of increasing awareness and understanding of the medium. This study will illustrate the contribution that customer magazines can clearly make to a marketing programme. Through a range of case studies it will demonstrate the return on investment that is possible in terms of brand equity and will add to the growing body of evidence that this is an effective medium in its own right. Further more, Royal Mail sponsorship has made the research project available to all member agencies for a significantly reduced fee and will illustrate the advantages of personalised, posted distribution."

The fieldwork for the project commences next week and the results will be launched in the Autumn to provide return on investment evidence for the marketing community and to persuade marketers to invest more of their budget into customer magazines alongside other more traditional media.

Jason Frost, Chairman of APA Research committee states "I am absolutely thrilled that this project is going forward with the full backing of the members of the APA. They recognise that it gives our clients an invaluable insight into ROI for our medium and it places our industry in a position of measurement leadership versus our competitors for marketing spend. The additional benefit that we have been able to build in to the survey, thanks to Millward Browns' thoughtful input, a totally new way to measure reading and quality of reading for titles who don't have access to NRS. This will have a dramatic effect on advertising revenues flowing in to customer magazines."

The programme has also received considerable support and acknowledgement as to the benefits of effectiveness research from the client community. Diane Dalgarno, magazines manager from Homebase states: " This research programme will give us a tremendous insight into the effectiveness and power of our magazine; Homebase Ideas. We think it is a terrific step forward for the customer publishing industry"

This research project is one of several initiatives that are being launched by APA, including AAR consultancy, to increase awareness of this growing sector and raise the profile of the medium amongst the marketing and agency community.

Toni Bridges
020 7927 9999

Published on: 12:00AM on 22nd June 2004