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CUSTOM MAGAZINES: WHERE DIGITAL PAGE-TURN EDITIONS FAIL
 

CUSTOM MAGAZINES: WHERE DIGITAL PAGE-TURN EDITIONS FAIL

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Threatened by the rise in paper, printing and postage costs, online custom magazines rejoice an...

Threatened by the rise in paper, printing and postage costs, online custom magazines rejoice an
increased interest. They are seen as a more efficient, but equivalent alternative to offline custom
magazines. Most digital custom magazines, however, contain an electronic replica of the print version.
Our study explores the question of whether online page-turn custom magazines are an equivalent
alternative to offline custom magazines.
Based on our survey results we conclude that custom magazines have a bright future online. Replicas of
the print version, however, are not the future of the industry since the facsimile copy of the print edition in
a digital page-turn format does not stand up to print. Paper still ‘feels’ good and holds a much stronger
position, compared to online magazines, in terms of reach and average reading time. Another benefit of
offline custom magazines is that customers in general, and women in particular, prefer offline, since it
offers them something tangible and physical they can hold and engage with. In sum, there is still place for
print content in the digital age and before we move to jettison the magazine, let us fully understand what it
is we are possibly throwing away.

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    CUSTOM MAGAZINES: WHERE DIGITAL PAGE-TURN EDITIONS FAIL CUSTOM MAGAZINES: WHERE DIGITAL PAGE-TURN EDITIONS FAIL Document Transcript

    • CUSTOM MAGAZINES: WHERE DIGITAL PAGE-TURN EDITIONS FAIL* Jos M.C. Schijns, Open University, Heerlen, the Netherlands Edith G. Smit, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the NetherlandsABSTRACTThreatened by the rise in paper, printing and postage costs, online custom magazines rejoice anincreased interest. They are seen as a more efficient, but equivalent alternative to offline custommagazines. Most digital custom magazines, however, contain an electronic replica of the print version.Our study explores the question of whether online page-turn custom magazines are an equivalentalternative to offline custom magazines.Based on our survey results we conclude that custom magazines have a bright future online. Replicas ofthe print version, however, are not the future of the industry since the facsimile copy of the print edition ina digital page-turn format does not stand up to print. Paper still ‘feels’ good and holds a much strongerposition, compared to online magazines, in terms of reach and average reading time. Another benefit ofoffline custom magazines is that customers in general, and women in particular, prefer offline, since itoffers them something tangible and physical they can hold and engage with. In sum, there is still place forprint content in the digital age and before we move to jettison the magazine, let us fully understand what itis we are possibly throwing away.Keywords: Custom Magazine, Customer Loyalty, digital/online/virtual/electronic page-turn replica of theprint magazine1. INTRODUCTIONDue to rising costs and shrinking marketing budgets, especially during an economic downturn, directmarketers will continue shifting their budgets from traditional, offline media toward more efficient onlinemedia. Custom magazines have not been isolated from this shift. As a result, online custom magazinesrejoice an increased interest. They are seen as a more efficient, but equivalent alternative to offlinecustom magazines.While the effectiveness of offline custom magazines has been empirically shown (e.g. APA, 2005; Mintel,2006; Schijns, 2008; Sveriges Uppdragspublicister, 2009), the effectiveness of online custom magazines,has hardly been supported empirically. In other words: although shifting marketing communicationbudgets toward online communication, or even replacing offline custom magazines by a digital alternative,is seen as more efficient, it certainly bares the risk that marketers reject the good with the bad.In our research, we compare the performance of offline custom magazines and their online page-turnreplicas. There are several reasons for this focus. First, momentarily most of the online custommagazines are nothing more than a non-interactive electronic replica of the print magazine. Second, thefew digital custom magazines that contain rich media mostly do not have a printed version, excluding acomparison between the two. The third reason for this focus is a practical one. The database we used forselecting respondents contained customers of companies, which sponsored a virtual page-turning formatnext to a print edition. Companies sponsoring rich media custom magazines were not included in thedatabase. In the Netherlands, the country of focus in this study, only two companies were identified assponsoring rich media custom magazines, being: KLM (iFly) and Bol.com (Bomvol). Both issued a digitalcustom magazine only. And, at the end of 2009, Bol.com ended its magazine Bomvol leaving iFly the onlyreal interactive custom magazine.Central question we aim to answer is: “Are online page-turn custom magazines an equivalent alternativeto offline custom magazines?”JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS, Volume 10, Number 4, 2010 24
    • 2. LITERATURE REVIEW2.1 Custom magazines describedFollowing Mintel (2006), we define custom magazines as “any regularly published title that is produced bya publishing agency on behalf of a third party and that is offered to customers, employees or members.”From this definition some characteristics of custom magazines can be distinguished. First, custommagazines are financed by a specific organization, the sponsor. It is not the publishing agency bearingthe financial risks. Second, custom magazines are made for a specific group of stakeholders. Third,custom magazines are published regularly.Bronner (2004) and Smit (2007) mention two additional characteristics of custom magazines: custommagazines contain both editorial and commercial content, and they have specific marketing orcommunication goals, such as building stronger relationships between the sponsor and the stakeholdergroup, promoting brand awareness, establishing a desired brand image or positioning, providinginformation to their target market(s), and changing behavior.In the USA custom media are also called: branded media, customer media, member media, contentmarketing, and custom publishing. In the UK contract publishing and customer publishing also indicatecustom media. Retailing, automotive and financial services are the most popular sectors using custommagazines. Other important sectors include: charities, leisure/sport, and utilities. In-flight magazines,sponsored by airlines, were one of the first custom media and remain typical of the genre.Custom magazines (in print) proofed to be effective in reaching their main marketing and communicationgoals (APA, 2005; Mintel, 2006; Schijns, 2008; Sveriges Uppdragspublicister, 2009). They are, however,rather costly to develop, print and distribute. Online editions offer a number of distinctive strengths.Besides being more efficient, compared to print, they offer more options to interact with customers, theycan be more up-to-date and due to video and sound they are expected to generate more attention,response and awareness. These strengths, however, are not always utilized since rich media arerequired. In fact, most online magazines are just a digital page-turn version of the offline magazine.However, being ineffective in using their potential does certainly not mean that such online magazines areineffective in reaching their marketing and communication goals. So, though more cost efficient, thecentral issue here is whether online page-turn custom magazines are as effective as their offlinecounterparts.Based on the literature we identified five performance indicators to evaluate whether online custommagazines are an equivalent alternative to offline custom magazines, namely: relationship commitment(§2.2), brand image (§2.3), reach (§2.4), average reading time (§2.5), and magazine engagement (§2.6).2.2 Customer relationship commitmentOne of the most cited marketing and communication goals of custom magazines is building strongerrelationships with their stakeholder groups, inside and outside the company. Generally, online custommagazines aim at the same objectives as offline magazines. It is therefore suggested that online custommagazines too, aim at strengthening relationship commitment. Relationship commitment is viewed as ageneral attitude of attachment (Beatty and Kahle, 1988), here between the sponsor of the magazine andthe customers. Offline custom magazines are found to be effective with respect to strengtheningcommitment (APA, 2005; Kleijn, 2008; Schijns 2008). For that, we expect that readers of a custommagazine feel more committed to the sponsor than non-readers (hypothesis 1a). In addition, we expectthat this is even more the case for offline readers than for online readers (hypothesis 1b).So, our first hypothesis is as follows.Hypothesis 1a: Customers reading a custom magazine are more committed to the sponsor thancustomers not reading the magazine (readers > non-readers)Hypothesis 1b: Customers reading an offline custom magazine are more committed to the sponsor thancustomers reading the online edition (offline readers > online readers)JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS, Volume 10, Number 4, 2010 25
    • 2.3 ImageBesides strengthening commitment, establishing a desired brand image or positioning is a second, oftencited marketing and communication goal of custom magazines. Research has supported theeffectiveness of custom magazines in this regard. The Advantage Study, commissioned by theAssociation of Publishing Agencies (APA) and Royal Mail, in cooperation with Millward Brown, forexample, summarizes that “Customer magazines contain independent editorial content which significantlyenhances the corporate brand image by on average 9%” (APA, 2005: 1). Also Kleijn (2008) suggests thatcustom media contribute positively to the sponsor’s image, based on an extensive, two-stage quantitativestudy. Schijns (2008: 75) concludes that “with respect to company image readers and non-readers differsignificantly. Readers of customer magazines have a more positive view of the company image than non-readers.”Therefore, we expect that:Hypothesis 2a: Customers reading a custom magazine have a more positive view of the sponsor’simage than customers not reading the magazine (readers > non-readers).And, similar to hypothesis 1b, we expect that:Hypothesis 2b: Customers reading an offline custom magazine have a more positive view of thesponsor’s image than customers reading the online edition (offline > online).2.4 ReachAlthough online publications are available all over the world wide web (if not protected by a password ormembership), we are interested in the availability for the specific target group (‘selective reach’ instead ofpotential ‘total reach’). Customers are mostly informed about a new online issue of the custom magazinethrough an e-mail announcement containing a link inviting customers to visit the online magazine. Ingeneral, sponsors have less e-mail addresses (if any) than postal addresses, resulting in less grossreach. Also, generally, click-through rates are lower than postal openings, resulting in less net reach. Inaddition, TargetCast tcm (2009) found that a majority of the respondents in their study preferred theexperience of reading a printed magazine over reading a magazine on the Internet and that only 15% ofrespondents overall agree that they would rather read magazines online. That is to say that, with a printedcustom magazine, readers will be able to read and enjoy custom magazines in a relaxing manner on theirsofa (or the three B’s – Bathroom, Beach, Bus), resulting in less qualitative reach of online magazines. Inaccordance with these differences in preferences we expect differences in reach.Therefore we hypothesize that:Hypothesis 3: The offline custom magazine will outperform the online audience in terms of quantitativereach (number of readers) and qualitative reach (preferences).2.5 Average reading timeOffline custom magazines are found to be effective with respect to engaging readers for an average of 25minutes (APA, 2005), “which is significantly more than the eight seconds looking at a poster or 20-30seconds listening to a radio ad. In essence it compares to fifty 30-second TV ads” (APA:http://www.apa.co.uk/services/apa-insight). Kleijn (2008) also found support for the suggestion that acustom magazine is a ‘twenty-minutes-medium’. The results of his study indicated that readers of printedcustom magazines in the Netherlands spent twenty minutes, on average.Geske and Bellur (2008) did a study to see if reading differs between print materials and the sameinformation delivered via computer screen. They found that print established attention better than acomputer screen. It took more energy to process the same information reading from computer screenthan from print materials. For that, we expect consumers reading from print material will spend more timereading the magazine than consumers reading from computer screen.JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS, Volume 10, Number 4, 2010 26
    • Hypothesis 4: Readers of an offline custom magazine spend more time reading the magazine thanreaders of the online version.2.6 EngagementSeveral studies showed that media can provide an effective context for advertising responsiveness whenconsumers are highly engaged with a medium vehicle (e.g., DePelsmacker, Geuens, and Anckaert, 2002;Moorman, Neijens, and Smit, 2002; Bronner and Neijens 2006). While the meaning of engagement isintuitively clear, namely having a certain connection with a television program or a website, itsmeasurement is rather unclear (Calder et al., 2009). Calder et al. (2009) conceptualize engagement as acollection of experiences with the medium and refer to Uses and Gratification studies (e.g., Ruggiero,2000). In our study, we follow the line of Calder et al. (2009), but include consequences of engagement inour items, such as ‘When I have received [name magazine], I always take the time reading it’ or ‘If Iwouldn’t receive [name magazine] anymore, I would miss it’. These additions are based on earlierresearch on customer media commitment (Smit, 2007). Like relationship commitment, engagement isviewed as a general attitude. However, where relationship commitment refers to the attachment betweenthe sponsor of the magazine and the readers, engagement refers to the experiences with the mediumitself (i.e., the custom magazine). As the medium itself differs in comparing an offline and online version ofa custom magazine, we expect that engagement with both versions will differ too, resulting in thefollowing hypothesis.Hypothesis 5: Readers will be differently (more/less) engaged with the online version as compared to theoffline version3. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY3.1 Procedure and sampleIn order to find out whether online custom magazines are an equivalent alternative to their offlinecounterpart, we investigated customers of two retailers of luxurious body care products. These retailersissued both an offline custom magazine and an online page-turn version. That is, the online and offlineeditions of the magazine were identical with respect to content, structure, design and level of interaction.There was no use of rich media, such as animations, interactive content, hyperlinks, embedded video andaudio, and movie clips.A sample of 12,225 addresses was randomly drawn from a database, held by Cendris, containing datafrom 1.8 million households in the Netherlands, which is 25% of all Dutch households. In the Netherlands,Cendris is market leader in direct and interactive marketing. From the database it was known that theselected addresses belong to customers of at least one of the two retailers under study, and that they hadleft behind their e-mail address. These customers were surveyed online with respect to one of tworetailers and their readership of the custom magazine. The webbased survey application(‘CendrisMonitor’) was reached by a link within an e-mail invitation.We analyzed differences between the offline and online editions of both magazines in terms of fiveperformance indicators. For that, four subgroups were distinguished: readers of the offline edition, readersof the online edition, readers of both the online and the offline edition, and non-readers.3.2 MeasuresRelationship Commitment (RC), as stated earlier, is viewed as a general attitude of attachment (e.g.Beatty and Kahle, 1988). In this study, relationship commitment refers to the attitude of attachmentbetween the retailer (the sponsor of the magazine) and the retailer’s customers. Relationship commitmentwas measured using three balanced seven-point Likert-type scales anchored ‘completely disagree’ (1)and ‘completely agree’ (7): ‘I feel loyal to [name retailer]’, ‘The relationship I have with [name retailer] issomething I want to sustain’, ‘I feel involved with [name retailer] as a store for my purchases’.For analytical reasons (e.g. confirmatory factor analysis, analysis of reliability and validity) we alsomeasure four other relational aspects: satisfaction, trust, willingness to continue the relationship andJOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS, Volume 10, Number 4, 2010 27
    • willingness to recommend the company. These aspects are considered to be related to, but different fromthe core concept of relationship commitment.Satisfaction is a customer’s overall or global judgment regarding the extent to which product or serviceperformance matches expectations (Anderson and Sullivan, 1993; Stank et al., 1999).Trust refers to one party having confidence in an exchange partner’s reliability and integrity (Morgan andHunt, 1994). Trust is at stake when a party is willing to rely on an exchange partner in whom one hasconfidence (Moorman et al., 1993).Satisfaction and trust are seen as necessary conditions for customer relationship commitment (Schijns,2002).Willingness to continue the relationship is an indicator of anticipation of future interaction. Willingness tocontinue the relationship is considered as an outcome of high levels of commitment to a relationship.Willingness to recommend the company is considered also as an outcome of high levels of relationshipcommitment and conceptualized as an indicator of anticipation of reference.Each of the four additional relational constructs mentioned above, is measured using three balancedseven-point Likert-type scales anchored ‘completely disagree’ (1) and ‘completely agree’ (7). The itemsused are based on those used by Schijns (2008) in his research on the effectiveness of customermagazines. For the specific items we refer to Table 1.Image is measured using six items describing the sponsor of the customer magazine as being: an expert,a reliable partner, an attractive supplier, a professional, incorruptible and a sympathetic organization.These items are based on research by Poiesz (1989) and Smit, Van den Berge and Franzen (2003), andmeasured on a 7-point Likert-type scale anchored ‘completely disagree’ (1) and ‘completely agree’ (7).Engagement, the last multi-item construct we mention here, was based on Bronner and Neijens (2006),Calder et al. (2009), and Smit (2007). The included items are: ‘I feel attached to [name of the magazine]’,‘[name magazine] is a magazine I’m familiar with’, ‘When I have received [name magazine], I always takethe time reading it’, ‘I’m a loyal reader of [name magazine]’, ‘For [name magazine] I’m willing to pay asmall amount of money’ and ‘If I wouldn’t receive [name magazine] anymore, I would miss it’. Theseitems, too, are measured on a 7-point Likert-type scale anchored ‘completely disagree’ (1) and‘completely agree’ (7).4. RESULTS4.1 Response rate12,225 addresses were mailed to participate in the survey. 1,530 e-mail addresses appeared wrong ornon-existing (any more). So, a total number of 10,695 addresses received the invitation. 1,576 addressesreacted to the invitation, resulting in a gross response rate of 14.7% (of the 10,695 addresses actuallyreached). However, 33 respondents were not available at the time of the survey (‘out of office’-reply).Four respondents indicated that they did not want to participate in the survey. So, the resulting netresponse rate was 14.4 %. From the resulting 1,539 respondents 639 indicated that the investigatedretailers were their main supplier for body care products and were used in our analysis.From these 639 respondents, 564 could be allocated to one of the following four groups: readers of theoffline edition (n = 254; 45%), readers of the online edition (n = 30; 5%), readers of both the online andthe offline edition (n = 106; 19%), and non-readers (n = 174; 31%).No significant differences were found between these four groups with respect to age (F(3,554) = 1.317; p = 2.268) or education ( (6) = 5.725; p = .455). There is, however, a significant difference with respect to 2gender ( (3) = 16.106; p = .001), suggesting that women are more likely to read the custom magazineand that women are more likely than men to read the printed edition of the magazine. This aspect will beexplored in more detail in §4.3.3 (qualitative and quantitative reach).JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS, Volume 10, Number 4, 2010 28
    • 4.2 General analysisConfirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) was applied to the five relational factors: satisfaction, trust,relationship commitment, willingness to recommend, and willingness to continue the relationship. Thecalculations were performed using AMOS, version 16. Since our variables are not distributed jointmultivariate normal, our sample size (n = 564) is large (200-500 are required for simple models), and CFAis a relatively simple model, we applied the Asymptotic Distribution Free (ADF) estimation procedure. Allloadings were significant and ranged from .64 to .90, well above Nunnally and Bernstein’s (1994)suggested cutoff of .40. 2The model was significant ( (73) = 96.043; p = .037), which is not surprising given this test’s knownsensitivity to large sample sizes (Bollen, 1989). However, alternative fit indices suggest that the CFA-model fits the data reasonably well: the GFI statistic is .928, the CFI statistic is .953 and RMSEA = .024(Bagozzi and Yi, 1988).Cronbach’s alpha values are well above Malhotra’s (1996, p. 305) minimum value of .60 for satisfactoryinternal consistency reliability.Table 1 summarizes the results of the CFA and Cronbach’s alpha tests. TABLE 1: RELIABILITY ESTIMATES AND FACTOR LOADINGS OF THE MEASUREMENT SCALES Variable Item Factor loadings Cronbach’s alpha Satisfaction .86 Generally, I’m satisfied with [name retailer] 1 .72 Overall, [name retailer] is a good store 2 .65 I think I made the right decision to buy my 3 .75 products at [name retailer] Trust .78 When I have a problem, I’m confident that [name 1 .73 retailer] does everything to help me solve the problem I trust [name retailer], their products and services 2 .74 I have confidence in [name retailer] as a store for 3 .64 my product needs Relationship Commitment .85 I feel loyal to [name retailer] 1 .76 The relationship I have with [name retailer] is 2 .82 something I want to sustain I feel involved with [name retailer] as a store for 3 .76 my purchases Willingness to recommend .88 I talk positively about [name retailer] with my 1 .74 friends and family I recommend [name retailer] when I’m asked for 2 .90 my opinion When a friend asks me for advice, it’s very likely 3 .79 that I mention [name retailer] Willingness to continue relationship .86 In the future, I certainly keep buying at [name 1 .76 retailer] It’s very likely that I stay with [name retailer] for 2 .78 the next two years I give preference to [name retailer] 3 .84Additionally, using principal component analysis (PCA), each of the five constructs formed a reliable andone dimensional scale.JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS, Volume 10, Number 4, 2010 29
    • These results suggest satisfactory levels for internal consistency reliability and discriminant validity. So,though related to relationship commitment, the variables satisfaction, trust, willingness to recommend thecompany and willingness to continue the relationship are different from this core concept.The results of the Cronbach’s alpha tests for magazine engagement are .89 and .86 for the print versionand the digital version respectively. For brand image the Cronbach’s alpha value is .93. Cronbach’s alphavalues are well above Malhotra’s (1996, p. 305) minimum value of .60 for satisfactory internal consistencyreliability.Using principal component analysis (PCA), both magazine engagement and brand image formed reliableand one dimensional scales.4.3 Key findings4.3.1 Relationship commitmentExhibit 1 shows the results with respect to the five relational aspects, including the performance indicatorrelationship commitment, for the four readership groups. Analysis of variance revealed significantdifferences between the four groups for the core concept of relationship commitment (F(3,560) = 19.717; p =.000) as well as for satisfaction (F(3,560) = 5.543; p = .001), trust (F(3,560) = 12.940; p = .000), willingness tocontinue the relationship (F(3,560) = 27.049; p = .000) and willingness to recommend (F(3,560) = 18.560; p =.000). Based on post-hoc analysis (Scheffe-tests), we found, however, no significant differences betweenreaders of the offline magazine and readers of the online magazine with respect to perceived relationshipcommitment, satisfaction, trust, willingness to recommend and willingness to continue the relationship.However, on average, both groups perceived a much stronger relationship than non-readers. In addition,readers of both magazine formats felt significantly more committed than readers of either the offline or theonline edition, even though the online edition did not offer any additional content. EXHIBIT 1: RELATIONAL ASPECTS 6 5,5 5 4,5 4 Non-readers Online readers Offline readers Offline and (n=174) (n=30) (n=254) online (n=106) Commitment Satisfaction Trust W. to continue W. to recommendThough satisfaction and trust are suggested to be necessary conditions to achieve relationshipcommitment, the results also show that high levels of satisfaction and trust do not guarantee a high levelJOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS, Volume 10, Number 4, 2010 30
    • of relationship commitment. As can be seen in Exhibit 1, despite relatively high levels of satisfaction andtrust relationship commitment is relatively low.4.3.2 ImageExhibit 2 shows the results of image perceptions by the four readership groups. Analysis of variancerevealed that the four groups differ significantly for each of the six aspects measured: expert (F(3,560) =6.975; p = .000), reliable (F(3,560) = 12.770; p = .000), attractive (F(3,560) = 16.830; p = .000), professional(F(3,560) = 5,800; p = .001), incorruptible (F(3,560) = 7.301; p = .000) and sympathetic (F(3,560) = 12.496; p =.000). Post-hoc analysis shows that the small group of online readers does not differ from the other threegroups with respect to each of the image aspects, with the exception of attractiveness. In general, allgroups perceive their supplier positively, and readers of both the offline and online edition are the mostpositive. Non-readers are the least positive about the sponsor’s image. EXHIBIT 2: SPONSOR’S IMAGE 6,5 6 5,5 5 4,5 4 Expert Reliable Attractive Professional Incorruptible Sympathetic Non-readers (n=174) Offline readers (n=254) Online readers (n=30) Offline and Online (n=106)4.3.3 Reach4.3.3.1 Quantitative reach (number of readers)As indicated before we distinguished four readership groups. That is, the 564 respondents contained 174non-readers (31%), 30 readers of the online edition (5%), 254 readers of the offline edition (45%) and 106readers of both the online and the offline edition (19%). Exhibit 3a summarizes these results and showsthe difference in audience reached directly by the offline (64%) and online (24%) edition of the custommagazine.JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS, Volume 10, Number 4, 2010 31
    • EXHIBIT 3A: MEDIUM’S AUDIENCE (DIRECT) 100 90 80 70         =64 60 Pure % 50 45 Both 40 30         =24 20 5 19 10 19 0 Offline OnlineWe also asked respondents to indicate if there are other members in their household (e.g. familymembers) reading the magazine. We call this the spin-off to others, being the audience reachedindirectly. The results show that in case of an offline custom magazine other members of the householdread the magazine, relatively more than in case of an online edition of the custom magazine (See Exhibit3b). So, there is some kind of a ‘double jeopardy’ effect here: the online edition of the magazine not onlyis red by less customers (direct reach; Exhibit 3a), there is also less spin-off to other members ofcustomers’ households (indirect reach; Exhibit 3b), compared to the print edition. EXHIBIT 3B: MEDIUM’S AUDIENCE (INDIRECT, SPIN-OFF) Spin-off digital? 20% 66% 14% Spin-off print? 47% 46% 7% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Yes No ?JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS, Volume 10, Number 4, 2010 32
    • 4.3.3.2 Qualitative reach (preferences)The majority of respondents (58%) prefers reading the offline edition (see Exhibit 4A). So, the printedmagazine reading experience is still preferred. There are no correlations between preferences and socio- 2demographic characteristics like age (F(2,382) =.175; p = .840) and education ( (4) = 6.583; p = .160).There is, however, a correlation with gender as already suggested in §4.1. That is, men are more likely 2than women to replace printed magazines with the digital alternative ( (2) = 10.077; p = .006). See exhibit4B. EXHIBIT 4A: READER’S PREFERENCES 58 14 29 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Offline (n=222) Online (n=53) Both (n=110) EXHIBIT 4B: READER’S PREFERENCES (MALE VERSUS FEMALE) Female (n=270) 63 11 26 Male (n=115) 46 20 34 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Offline (n=222) Online (n=53) Both (n=110)JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS, Volume 10, Number 4, 2010 33
    • 4.3.4 Average reading timeThe survey revealed a difference in average reading time. The offline edition took an average readingtime of 23 minutes. That is about double the average reading time for online magazines (12.5 minutes).4.3.5 Reader-magazine engagementThe willingness to pay for online content is almost absent. There seems to be a mind set that onlinecontent should be available ‘for free’. Online, ‘(for) free’ has become the norm.However, for print magazines there is some willingness to pay for content.People don’t find much time for browsing magazines online. However, they are willing to spend time witha printed one. EXHIBIT 5: READER-MAGAZINE ENGAGEMENT Attached to 7 6 5 Miss it 4 Familiar 3 2 1 Willing to pay Take time to read Loyal Offline ed. (n=366) Online ed. (n=135)JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS, Volume 10, Number 4, 2010 34
    • 5. CONCLUSIONSBefore drawing conclusions, we summarize the results using Table 2. TABLE 2: SUMMARY OF RESULTS Focus of research Performance Indicators Offline Custom Online Custom Magazine Magazine Print ‘Page-turn’ ‘Rich Media’ 1. Relational aspects ++ +(+) ++(+) (e.g. commitment) 2. Image of the sponsor + + +(+) 3. Average reading time +++ + ++ 4. Medium’s audience: • Quantitative: ++ + ++ –Direct –Indirect (spin-off) ++ 0 + •Qualitative (preferences): +++ + ++ 5. Reader-magazine + + + engagement Note: Indications are Note: This column contains Page 8 relative assumptionsOur study explored the question of whether online page-turn custom magazines are an equivalentalternative to offline custom magazines.Our results suggest that digital page-turn custom magazines on screen are as effective as offlinemagazines in building customer relationships. Offline custom magazines, however, still hold a muchstronger position, compared to online magazines, in terms of medium’s audience and average readingtime. Another benefit of offline publications is that customers in general, and women in particular, preferoffline. Seemingly, it offers them something tangible and physical they can hold and engage with.Based on our results demonstrated in §4 and summarized in Table 2 we conclude that the facsimile copyof the print edition in a digital page-turn format does not stand up to print. Paper still ‘feels’ good and hasa huge amount of strength.Presenting an existing paper custom magazine in a digital page-turn format on screen, is like thinking ofcars as horseless carriages. The screen is not a page and it’s not looked at in the same usability contextas a page. So, before we move to jettison the magazine, let’s understand what it is we’re throwing away.Don’t reject the good with the bad.6. DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONSCustom magazines have a bright future online, but replicas of the print version distributed online are notthe future of the industry. It is to be seen as an intermediate technique. Marketers should guard againstinvesting huge amounts in this interim technology that soon will look out-dated. So, marketers thinkingabout replacing their existing paper custom magazine for economical or environmental reasons, andpresenting it in exactly the same format on screen should reconsider their ambitions.JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS, Volume 10, Number 4, 2010 35
    • Also, they should be aware that the digital magazine is suggested to compliment, rather than substitute,the print edition very well, since media channels learn to co-exist. Each medium is good for its ownreasons and might have a different audience. Like stairs didn’t disappear at the introduction of theelevator and radio still exists after the introduction of television, there still is place for print content in thedigital age. Although many titles will go out of print, as a medium print magazines are just too tangible, tooaccessible, and provide too great of an experience for demand to completely disappear.Moreover, marketers that want to introduce a digital replica next to the print version of their custommagazine might (better) transplant it into an eBook since the market penetration of e-Book readers andtablets (like the iPad from Apple) increases rapidly. Besides, the same benefit print magazines have(offline portability) is a benefit many will see in e-Magazines on e-Readers. With an e-Book or tablet as adelivery device for content, readers will be able to read and enjoy custom magazines in a relaxing manneron their sofa (or the three B’s – Bathroom, Beach, Bus), and have a “lean-backward experience” insteadof a “lean-forward experience”. In addition, in case of an e-Magazine marketers have more control overthe design. And, as a benefit, for e-Books there is a willingness to pay.Otherwise, marketers should use Rich Media when going online with their custom magazine.REFERENCES:• Anderson, E. and Sullivan, M., “The antecedents and consequences of customer satisfaction for firms”, Management Science, Vol. 12 (2), 1993, 125-143.• Association of Publishing Agencies (APA), APA Advantage Study: proving and benchmarking the effectiveness of customer magazines. Executive summary prepared on behalf of the APA by Millward Brown, March 2005, 12 pages, http://www.apa.co.uk/uploads/apa_documents/advantage_exsum- 2.pdf.• Bagozzi, R.P. and Yi, Y., “On the evaluation of structural equation models”, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 16 (Spring), 1988, 74-94.• Beatty, S.E. and Kahle, L. R., “Alternative hierarchies of the attitude – behaviour relationship: The impact of brand commitment and habit”, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 16 (1), 1988, 1–10.• Bollen, K., Structural equations with latent variables, John Wiley and Sons, New York, 1989.• Bronner, F., Customer magazines: a tool to create loyalty. In: P.C. Neijens, C. Hess, B. van den Putte and E.G. Smit, Content and Media Factors in Advertising, Het Spinhuis Publishers, Amsterdam, 2004.• Bronner, F. and Neijens, P., “Audience experiences of media context and embedded advertising: A comparison of eight media”, International Journal of Market Research, Vol. 48(1), 2006, 81-91.• Calder, B.J., Malthouse, E.C. and Schaedel, U., “An experimental study of the relationship between online engagement and advertising effectiveness”, Journal of Interactive Marketing, Vol. 23 (4), 2009, 321-331.• DePelsmacker, P., Geuens, M. and Anckaert, P., “Media context and advertising effectiveness: The role of context appreciation and context/ad similarity”, Journal of Advertising, 31(2), 2002, 49-59.• Geske, J. and Bellur, S., “Differences in brain information processing between print and computer screens”, International Journal of Advertising, Vol. 27 (3), 2008, 399-423.• Kleijn, B., Nederlanders over bedrijfsbladen, Logeion, The Hague, 2008. nd• Malhotra, N.K., Marketing Research: An Applied Orientation, 2 . Ed., Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 1996.• Mintel, The customer publishing industry – 2005/2006, Executive summary prepared on behalf of the APA by Mintel Custom Solutions, August 11, 2006.• Moorman, C., Deshpande, R. and Zaltman, G., “Factors affecting trust in market research relationships”, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 57 (1), 1993, 81-101.• Moorman, M., Neijens, P.C. and Smit, E.G., “The Effects of Magazine-Induced Psychological Responses and Thematic Congruence on Memory and Attitude Toward the Ad in a Real-Life Setting”, Journal of Advertising, Vol. 31 (4), 2002, 27-40.JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS, Volume 10, Number 4, 2010 36
    • • Morgan, R.M. and Hunt, S.D., “The commitment-trust theory of relationship marketing”, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 58 (3), 20-38.• Nunnally, J.C. and Bernstein, I.H., Psychometric theory, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1994.• Poiesz, T.B.C., “The image concept: its place in consumer psychology”, Journal of Economic Psychology, Vol. 10 (4), 1989, 457 – 472. st• Ruggiero, T., “Uses and Gratification Theory in the 21 Century”, Mass Communication and Society, Vol. 3 (1), 2000, 3-37.• Schijns, J.M.C., “Loyaliteit en klanttevredenheid, een twee-eenheid?”, Bedrijfskunde, tijdschrift voor modern management, Vol. 74 (1), 2002, 57-65.• Schijns, J.M.C., “Customer Magazines: an effective weapon in the direct marketing armory”, Journal of International Business and Economics, Vol. 8 (3), 2008, 70-78.• Smit, E., Ver-BINDING: interne en externe relatiemedia als verbinding tussen mensen en organisaties, inaugural, Vossiuspers, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, 2007.• Smit, E.G., Berge, E. van den, and Franzen, G., “Brands are just like real people!” In: F. Hansen and L. Bech Christensen, Branding and Advertising, CBS Press, Copenhagen, 2003, 22-43.• Stank, T.P., Goldsby, T.J. and Vickery, S.K., “Effect of service supplier performance on satisfaction and loyalty of store managers in the fast food industry”, Journal of Operations Management, Vol. 17 (2), 1999, 429-447.• Sveriges Uppdragspublicister, EFFU, en undersökning om kundtidningars effectivitet, 2009.• TargetCast tcm, Consumer Trend Report: Consumer Perspectives on How Media Usage Patterns are Evolving in the Digital Era, October, 2009.AUTHOR PROFILES:Dr. Jos M.C. Schijns earned his Ph.D. at the Maastricht University, the Netherlands in 1999. He earnedhis MBA at Webster University (“Academic Honors”). Currently he is an assistant professor at the OpenUniversity of the Netherlands, School of Management, and program manager at the Cendris ResearchCenter.Prof. Dr. Edith G. Smit (Ph.D 1999, University of Amsterdam) is a professor of Media and Advertising atthe University of Amsterdam, department of Communication Science.____________________________________* The empirical part for this article was made possible through the generous support of the CendrisResearch Center (CRC). Cendris is part of TNT Post, the Dutch national postal services.JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS, Volume 10, Number 4, 2010 37