Despite Concerns about Pricing and ROI, Marketers Expect to Spend More on Custom Publishing
Marketers plan to allocate more dollars to custom publishing in the next couple of years, though many are concerned that pricing on custom products is too high and believe there needs to be better ways to measure the return on their investments.
In a new study conducted by Roper Public Affairs for the Custom Publishing Council, 51 percent of chief marketing officers said custom media will capture a larger portion of their marketing budgets over the next couple of years. Another 41 percent reported having already shifted marketing funds away from traditional media in favor of custom.
Despite a favorable attitude toward the use of custom products, most CMOs surveyed gave a C-grade to both custom publishers in general, and to the specific custom publishers they’ve used. Eighty-nine percent of those surveys said they would be more apt to use custom publications if there was a more effective way to measure ROI and 65 percent said they would use it if it were less expensive.
CPC executive director Lori Rosen said this week that the study is encouraging and offers custom publishers insight into areas where there is room for improvement. "Custom publishing is still a relatively new discipline to some marketers so we’re not totally surprised at this (C-grade)," she said. "Collectively we need to communicate custom publishing marketing goals and expectations to our clients and provide better education overall."
Rosen said ROI is an ongoing challenge for custom publishers. "The good news is that the custom publishing industry is getting much better at it," she said. "There are a number of tools such as bind-in-cards, (Web Site metrics), coupons, increased sales on a particular product line or extension featured in a custom publication, and other measurements that can be derived through benchmark research. In many ways we are ahead of general marketing advertising as it pertains to ROI."
Rosen attributed the high-pricing concern to a matter of perception by marketers making the transition from buying advertising in magazines to publishing their own magazines and because marketers, who are used to producing publications in-house, are not incorporating the overhead costs associated with outsourcing custom publishing into their budgeting. "It is up the custom publishers to explain pricing and value and explain what they are getting for their investment," she said.
The study also found that:
- Almost eight out of 10 CMO’s believe that custom media should be an integral part of the marketing mix for any business and 78 percent agree that custom media represents the future of marketing.
- Eighty-seven percent of CMOs say they use custom Web content or Web sites in their marketing plans, while more than half use custom magazines and two-thirds use newsletters. Of those who say they do not currently use Web sites or content, three-quarters say they plan to in the future.
- Seventy-two percent of CMS say they find value in custom pubs and eight out of 10 believe people who receive custom publications are more likely to buy something from the sponsoring company.
- Seven out of 10 CMOs believe custom publications have a positive effect on people’s attitudes toward the sponsoring company.
- CMOs predicted that 85 percent of consumers realize the underlying reason for custom publications is so that the sponsoring company can sell more products. In reality, 93 percent consumers are aware of the sales-custom publication connection.