Get ready for the rise of mass-customized “B2Me” magazines. Once a pipe dream, the concept of magazines that are tailored to each reader is now a reality.
Consider, for example, ZEB magazine of Belgium, which has a print run of 150,000 copies that are so customized and personalized that no two copies are alike. Several recent developments have made it feasible and potentially profitable for publishers to provide far more customization of their printed magazines than in the recent past. There’s real opportunity here, but also new challenges for traditional magazine publishers.
What’s making mass-customized magazines possible are new full-color inkjet presses that can print different versions of the same pages without the expensive press stops and plate changes required by traditional offset printing. Inkjet has come a long way from the days of “uglyjet,” when its usage in magazines was restricted mostly to producing postal addresses, clunky messages and cartoonish images. These days, it can be difficult to distinguish an inkjet-printed magazine page from an offset page.
Changes in the advertising market are creating a greater need and opportunity for customized magazines. Programmatic advertising in digital media has demonstrated the power of getting the right message to the right person at the right time, undermining the “spray and pray” approach often associated with advertising in traditional media.
ZEB magazine is an extreme, but nevertheless instructive, example of what is possible for magazines. ZEB, a multi-brand fashion publisher, uses customer data — such as purchase history, age, gender, favorite brands and place of residence — to customize the text and images on multiple pages of its customer “magazine,” which is arguably a catalog.
The customization and personalization were not a one-time experiment; ZEB continues to tailor each magazine copy because doing so generates enough additional sales and customer loyalty to create a positive ROI.
Source: Mass-customized Magazines are Now Possible Thanks to Production Inkjet Presses