…”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.
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.
- Magazines Canada Consumer Research – Brand Spark Shopper Insights 2017
Mr. Magazine™ interviewed Ronan Gardiner, VP/CRO/Publisher, and Richard Dorment, Editor In Chief, Men’s Health this past week and for a legacy brand of 30 years, they are still bringing the game.
“At 30 years of age, Men’s Health is speaking to more men across more platforms than ever before according to Ronan Gardiner, VP, Publishing Director & Chief Revenue Officer, and Richard Dorment, Editor in Chief. With 12 million readers in print, 8 million online, and 15 million across all social platforms, Men’s Health is a legacy brand that is still as vibrant and as relevant today as it was 30 years ago.”
Certainly the consumer continues to be very interested in health and that is a contributing factor to Men’s Health Magazine’s continued success, but they also continue to evolve the brand and that is exciting to new readers.
“According to Rich, fitness, and health and wellness have never been more prevalent than in today’s changing male environment, hence the new tagline which epitomizes the “new” Men’s Health, where vitality is the core of the brand.”
It’s nice to see a brand that is thriving…
“All Mr. Magazine™ can say is Men’s Health seems to be A-Okay, no stress test needed. And with its cornerstone print product thriving, digital and social growing, the brand shows no signs of slowing down as it nears its 30th anniversary. And check newsstands as the October issue of the Stronger, Faster, Better Men’s Health hits today!”
Click here to read the entire article.
Those of us within the Newsstand Industry have known for a long time how profitable magazines are to Retail Chains in general and especially at the checkout in relation to competitive products. The latest Front End Focus study reinforces this longstanding reality…
“The latest Front End Focus (FEF) study underscores the checkout’s crucial contribution to supermarkets – and, for the first time, measures not just sales, but profitability, for magazines and other leading front-end categories”. Click here to view some enlightening information and click here to view the entire report.
Magazine categories have always been interesting to me, because they speak to the current Zeitgeist. Some of these categories may contribute quite small dollar numbers in the grand scheme of magazine sales, but they do tell a story of what we are currently thinking, doing, and feeling. This categorization, be it surprising or confirming of what you think, is at minimum, interesting.
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.
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.
Often we see the magazine covers in stores, but we really don’t think that much about them, what goes into the making of a good cover or how a magazine decides upon a particular cover.
New York Times magazine has an interesting new project. In their new video series, “Behind the Cover”, they are documenting the creation of the cover images. For the whole story, click here and for the story behind the April 29th cover, click here.
Geographically, Canada has a larger land mass than the United States, however the reverse is true in terms of population density. Canada hosts 10% of the entire North American population, with 36.4 million people country-wide, but produces 12.8% of the English language sales on the newsstand! This becomes even more impressive when you add in the fact that French is the mother-tongue of about 22.3% of the Canadian population or about 7 million Canadians. The majority of the French language population reside in the province of Quebec and of that 7 million, 4.5 million only speak French and as such are not consumers of English language magazines!
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.