CUSTOMER MAGAZINES: AN EFFECTIVE WEAPON IN THE DIRECT MARKETING ARMORY

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In a crowded communication environment, media have to prove their effectiveness and accountability in …

In a crowded communication environment, media have to prove their effectiveness and accountability in
reaching their goals. Although marketing analytics are more important than ever in modern marketing
programs, hardly any research is available on the effectiveness of customer magazines. This research
focuses on answering the question: “Are customer magazines accountable in reaching their goals?”
Previous research on the effectiveness of relationship magazines has been commissioned in the UK by
the Association of Publishing Agencies (APA) and Royal Mail, in cooperation with Millward Brown. The
research shows that readers have a sophisticated understanding of the role of customer magazines; they
welcome them, spend time reading them, have a more positive view of the company image and are more
inclined to continue using the company than non-readers.
In order to find out whether the results of the APA study can be extended to the Dutch market, and verify
the likelihood that the customer magazine is accountable for the differences between readers and nonreaders,
we started our own research, consisting of nine magazines from three different sectors.
Our findings confirm the effectiveness of customer magazines as a medium for building and retaining
loyalty. Based on our results the customer magazine has definitely moved away from the public relations
exercise towards the strategic communication device. Customer magazines have an effective role to play
as part of the marketing mix. A role that is even more effective, if the intermediate function of a customer
magazine is taken into account. Customer magazines are the ideal means to mention a company’s
website, to refer to exhibits, stimulate (web)store visits, link to the company’s catalogue, and explore
market research. Customer magazines, therefore, should be integrated into the mainstream marketing
(communication) strategies.

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