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Customer magazines build and strengthen relations

The age of the content is here and many brands are choosing to market themselves with the help of editorial material. Customer magazines are growing in number, size and quality. And this is the way to go, say the experts, if you want to strengthen your brand and customer relations.

You’ve probably noticed it yourself – company after company, in industry after industry, sending out their own magazines. And these aren’t any old magazines, but well-made, interesting and substantial magazines that you enjoy spending a few minutes of your valuable time reading.

This is, of course, no random development. In a world where we are constantly bombarded with new commercial messages – up to 5000 a day – many people are quite tired of adverts. Customer magazines, on the other hand, are given a largely positive reception. They don’t feel like advertising in the same way, but more as providers of relevant content.

Often leads to purchases

A survey conducted by the Content Marketing Association (CMA) also shows that this type of magazine really hits home. On average, the recipient spends as much as 25 minutes on a customer magazine, which can be compared with the seconds that a more traditional advertising message has to communicate with its target group: 30 seconds on the radio and TV, and eight seconds for outdoor advertising.

Almost half of the readers who took part in the survey also stated that they had acted in some way after reading a customer magazine – by seeking more information, making an online purchase or visiting a store and possibly making a purchase there.

“A person who reads a customer magazine spends seven pounds more on average during each shop, compared with someone who doesn’t read it,” relates Patrick Fuller, chairman of Result Customer Communication, one of the UK’s leading retail marketing agencies.

The figures speak for themselves, and it is therefore hardly surprising that as many as 78 per cent of Britain’s most trusted brands regularly publish a customer magazine.

Editorial and credible

Customer magazines are part of the growing trend towards content marketing, which involves publishing various kinds of editorial material for marketing purposes. The channels may be anything from customer magazines and annual reports to TV webcasts and events. The aim is to generate interest and convey a positive image of a company, with a view to strengthening awareness and loyalty among both existing and potential customers in the longer term. Putting out editorial material allows the company to give customers something interesting or useful that can influence their keenness to shop with that particular company. Content marketing tends not to be perceived as sales material in the classic sense, but is more about building up a lasting relationship.

“Content marketing strengthens both brands and relations. As consumers become increasingly tired of traditional advertising, content marketing can be made more relevant and targeted, since there is already an existing customer relationship,” suggests Elisabeth Thörnsten, CEO of Swedish Content Agencies.

Quality produces results

The high quality of customer magazines is made crystal clear in independent media measurements by ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulation), which has 10 customer magazines in its list of the Top 20 British magazines.

And Patrick Fuller is in no doubt that customer magazines are set to become an even more common sight:

And Patrick Fuller is in no doubt that customer magazines are set to become an even more common sight: “Today content is king and companies are giving this type of marketing an increasing share of the budget. It’s all about results – and when survey after survey shows that customer magazines work this well, the choice is an obvious one.”

In other words, the age of the content is by no means over. In fact, it has just begun.

Patrik Fuller

Patrick Fuller is chairman of Result Customer Communications and a leading figure in content marketing. Before he joined Result, he spent seven years as CEO of the well regarded Content Marketing Association (CMA, formerly APA).

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Holmen is a forest industry group that manufactures printing paper, paperboard and sawn timber and runs forestry and energy production operations. The company’s extensive forest holdings and its high proportion of energy production are strategically important resources for its future growth.

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