Magazines and Books at Retail (MBR) Conference Canada Takeaways

…”one of the best yet!”
… “valuable shopper insights”… “

These are just a few of the comments that came out of the recent Magazine and Books at Retail (MBR) conference in Toronto on October 23. The conference packed in some powerhouse speakers who had real value to offer.

Dr. Dave Williams, astronaut, aquanaut, pilot, surgeon, CEO and author of Defying Limits: Lessons from the Edge of the Universe, was so inspiring with the message that we all want to make a difference and we just need to step up to do it. Jeff McNulty, Vice President at Presse Commerce spoke passionately about how magazines continue to take a central role at their retail stores and how they are important to consumers. Amar Sing from Kantar Retail provided some valuable insights into the Canadian retail landscape.
So many nuggets of information and value provided that we could write a book. (or at least a lengthy paper). However, we know people are busy, so here are the Industry Action Group’s Top 5:

Magazines are still very important to retail
It was great to see that magazines are still very important and relevant to retailers in Canada. This was evident in listening to Jeff McNulty of Presse Commerce and looking at the pictures of the winners of the IAG Retailer of the Year Awards. Retailers appreciate recognition of their efforts. The category responds when there is a supportive supply chain and engaged retailer. And yes, category has legs but it requires attention. We as an industry have a publicity issue. Magazines and books, must find a way to celebrate and publicize their successes.

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Relying on Small Sets of Data is Misleading. Magazines are Evolving

In a recent article, MPA President and CEO, Linda Thomas-Brooks spoke out against what the industry just can’t let go of, this idea that magazines are dead. She mentions: “…pointing out that relying on small sets of data leads to misleading conclusions.”

Similar broad statements have been made about Bricks and Mortar retail as well, I  have read a several articles touting that “Retail is Dead”. As a retailer yourself, or someone that works with retail, you know that isn’t a true statement either. Again, it is the use of small sets of data that is used to make a point and eventually, enough is written about it that people begin to think it’s true.

The truth is, well, it’s complicated. There are certain types of magazines that have lost favor with consumers, others have gained and are growing. Similar to retail, there are some magazines that haven’t rethought their approach to how they show up in the marketplace even though the consumer has changed. Others are reinventing and therefore reinvigorating their brands.

Space at retail is changing at that also affects sales, as it affects assortment. For some consumers, when they don’t find their favorite magazine, they will go to another retailer, or buy nothing.

Magazines add value to a retailer. In recent studies conducted, shoppers have been found to have a better experience at the retailer when they bought a magazine.1. Sales of products that are found in magazines are purchased at retail. Magazines also provide a role in society beyond the sale… Linda comments:  “As audiences are thinking more critically about what voices and information they really trust, they are increasingly seeking out the professionally researched, written, edited, produced and curated content that magazine brands produce across channels.  According to the MPA’s Magazine Media 360° Brand Audience Report, the total audience for all magazines rose 1.4 per cent over last year to 1.7 billion, proving that there is enormous consumer demand for magazine media content.”

To read the full article, click here. 

  1. Magazines Canada Consumer Research – Brand Spark Shopper Insights 2017

Magazine Media Is Trusted

The pendulum is swinging again, with trust of content becoming more important again to readers. Did you know, The Economist is getting ready to celebrate its 175th birthday this year? Now, this is a magazine that people trust.

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Reinventing Our Magazine Marketing Approach

IAG group member and President of Magazines and Books at Retail, (MBR), Jerry Lynch just published an article: First Priorities: Reinventing Our Marketing Approach. It’s a call for channel members to work together to collaborate like never before! He writes: ” It will require collaborating like never before to drive an innovative, coherent marketing initiative that aligns with, supports and leverages the “360 degree” and “consumer-first” paradigms now driving the media and retail businesses.”

It will require that publishing and distribution players cooperate and work actively with retailers to introduce fresh, effective strategies for harnessing the unique content and audience strengths of magazines and books. By that, I mean harnessing these in all of the ways and all of the channels that both retailers and publishers now use to engage with and market to consumers.

Members of Magazines & Books at Retail — active national distributor, publisher, wholesaler and retailer executives alike — have made a start. They’ve spent significant amounts of time working together to identify opportunities to test new insights, opportunities and approaches at retail. Now we need to marshal the troops and get them into the field.

These pros see the opportunities, as well as the challenges. They know that 80% of all commodities sales still occur in bricks-and-mortar stores, and that magazines and books are still read by 90% of the population.” 

Jerry suggests we leverage everything. Yes, the industry has challenges, and yes, it also has opportunities. If we tap into the potential, we realize that the category can bring excitement to a retail store and the shoppers that shop them. Click here to read this engaging article.

 

Learn About Magazine Resilience at MagNet. Canada’s Magazine Conference is Coming Up Quickly

MagNet 2018 will take place Wednesday, April 25 and Thursday, April 26th in Toronto.

Canada’s Magazine Conference, MagNet, is North America’s largest gathering of magazine media stakeholders. Of special interest this year is a session moderated by our very own, Craig Sweetman. Recent research from BrandSpark International turns the page on assumptions about magazines at retail. The BrandSpark research findings, Magazine Resilience: Who’s Buying at Retail?  reveals how retailers and publishers can leverage magazines to enhance the overall shopping experience.

Other sessions of interest Wednesday, April 25
Global Intensives – The Economist: Doubling Down on Circulation to Grow Audience and Profits
How Canadian Marketers Can Leverage Data for Greater Profitability

Thursday, April 26
Global Intensives – Magazine Media: Better. Believe It.

Check out the MagNet 2018 information in greater detail by clicking here.

3 Lessons Retail Can Learn from the Publishing Industry

When I first read this title in a recent article published by Independent Retailer, I thought, publishing has seen much turmoil in the last few years, what lessons could it be teaching retail?… Well, retail is also in turmoil. In fact many businesses, think tourist and taxi industry, are being disrupted today. Change is everywhere. Read more