Graphic Arts Monthly Debuts Customized Covers

With its January issue, publishing trade Graphic Arts Monthly will be sending its readers customized issues based on its readers’ preferences.

Working in partnership with InfoPrint, GAM surveyed 70,000 subscribers and produced its issue with 25 different covers personalized for readers’ preferred topics. This method can be used by any number of publications to make sure content is connecting with readers and giving them what they want, instead of being lost in the shuffle.

GAM is the first publication that’s using this level of data and sophistication, but it is a way for publishers to mitigate the risk of producing irrelevant content,” Sandra Zoratti, vice president of Global Solutions Marketing at InfoPrint told FishbowlNY. “We’ve done surveys where we’ve learned that readers will disengage because of irrelevant content. It’s not the medium, it’s the message.”

And there’s something editors can learn from polling readers, too. Bill Esler, the editor of Reed Business-owned GAM said he was surprised to learn what cover story the majority of respondents had picked.

“We had five main topics and we asked readers which one they wanted to see on the cover,” he explained. “I also guessed in advance what topics they would want to see. I thought they would want to see something about digital printing, but they were more interested in this think piece on printing’s role in the multichannel marketing of news. When readers were given the option, they knew better than the editor.”

Offering readers the option of getting only the news they want will lead to more engaged readers, which benefits advertisers. And this kind of personalized printing technology is already being utilized by a number of companies, from hotel chains to cable companies, to provide personalized marketing materials to clients. And since GAM‘s readership prints those materials, it made sense for InfoPrint to pair with the magazine to get the word out.

“We’re transferring the technology from one segment into another segment,” Esler said. “Marketing professionals have put a value on capturing names and print can be a driver for that while generating leads for advertisers. And we’re creating more engagement with our readers.”

Read the full press release describing GAM‘s latest venture, after the jump

Leading Publisher Customizes Magazine to Increase Relevancy To Readers

IBM, Ricoh joint venture and Graphic Arts Monthly supply subscribers with their preferred content

Boulder, Colo. — January 11, 2009 — InfoPrint Solutions Company, a joint venture between IBM and Ricoh and Graphic Arts Monthly (GAM), a Reed Business publication today unveiled GAM’s first customized issue for subscribers. The January 2010 edition of GAM has been specifically tailored and customized based on readers’ preferences. This full digital color cover was created using InfoPrint 5000 inkjet technology, software and services from InfoPrint that enables publishers to discover and capitalize on subscriber interests by delivering relevant content.

This groundbreaking initiative is the first time GAM has actively polled their readers to determine the specific content based on reader preferences. Over the years, publishers have claimed to deliver customized magazines but few have asked their subscribers what topics they find interesting and tailored their issue based on those preferences. GAM aims to keep its readers renewing their subscriptions via delivering relevant content, a tactic that makes it stand out from from other trade titles in its sector.

InfoPrint worked with GAM to survey 70,000 subscribers on the topics that are most interesting. The survey respondents received the January issue with one of the 25 combinations of full color covers highlighting their preferred topics. Other respondents were delivered a cover based on the analysis carried out by the title’s editor and the InfoPrint team. In addition, GAM and InfoPrint delivered personalization by integrating the offline magazine to online advertising by inserting the reader’s name via personal URLs.

“This is the first time we have ever analyzed one of our most valuable assets — our subscribers — to deliver a truly personal version of Graphic Arts Monthly,” said Bill Esler, Editor of GAM. “This project will demonstrate the importance of content relevancy for publishers, and highlight its role in keeping and attracting subscribers, while delivering fresh and relevant content in every edition of a print magazine. The business to business market is one of the toughest to crack and working on a project such as this enables us to continue to learn more about our readers, see the benefits of tailored, timely information and share it with others in the Reed Business portfolio.”

InfoPrint’s Precision Marketing leverages data to deliver customer insights and preferences. These insights are then transformed into marketing messaging that aim at sending the right message, to the right person, at the right time. Relevant messaging is the best a way to nurture and cultivate stronger relationships with consumers, growing loyalty. Publishers can use this methodology to take personalization to the next level using the data they already hold about their readers from opt-in forms submitted by their subscribers.

“Given the challenges facing the publishing industry, it is imperative that publishers find methods to effectively re-engage and retain their readership. This GAM in-market example seeks to engage subscribers by providing highly relevant and personalized content – a top priority for consumers today. By utilizing simple data analytics to customize content and inserting compelling graphic images, magazines can become more appealing, relevant and topical and better engage with their audiences,” said Sandra Zoratti, Vice President, Global Solutions Marketing at InfoPrint.

Using InfoPrint’s technology to create personalized covers

The InfoPrint solution allows publishers and printers alike to provide relevant, personalized and dynamic content which their readers demand. The covers were printed on an InfoPrint 5000, a full-color, continuous forms inkjet drop-on-demand printing system. Many of these systems have been implemented worldwide to enable successful Precision Marketing applications, as well as to produce short-run books, two functions that make it an ideal choice for the Graphic Arts Monthly pilot.

The flexible, variable color capability of the high speed InfoPrint 5000 make it the best complement for offset printing and will enable the uptake of publication with variable color content. Combined with the insight from surveys, existing data and basic analytics, this could represent the solution to dwindling subscriber numbers for the business publishing industry.

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