I’ve been reading about American Printer‘s conversion from a traditional B2B magazine to a B2Me magazine—or a B2B magazine built to order. The new format was launched in April 2012.
Based on information subscribers provide about themselves at the time they sign up, the American Printer B2Me magazines are built on the fly to include only the information of relevance to that subscriber. Content is also driven by where the subscriber lives and works.
Magazines include dynamic QR Codes and personalized URLs that not only provide “traditional” ad tracking (if such a thing can be said), but they also drive content selection. Content that readers ignore will appear less and less often (and, the magazine claims, even disappear over time). Articles and ads with which readers do interact will increase the inclusion of that type of content in the future.
While the marketing messages focus on the reader, what was interesting to me is how this approach becomes the ultimate tool for proving value to advertisers. Kind of “pay per click” for magazine advertising. Not exactly like that, of course, but in a broad sense, I think the analogy is a good one.
When you advertise in a magazine, you are paying for all of the eyeballs that receive the magazine, whether they are interested in your specific category of product or not. So, by creating a profile, not only do readers self-select themselves into the advertiser’s category, but as they scan or don’t scan codes (or respond or don’t respond to personalized URLs), they continue to affirm their content choices and increase their value to the advertiser.
For those QR Code naysayers out there, while it’s true that not everyone is scanning QR Codes these days, I would venture to guess that anyone who signs up for a magazine with content dynamically selected at the time of printing is more likely than average to scan QR Codes.
As I wrote in a Digital Nirvana post last week, the theme that came out loud and clear from the Print Solutions 2012 conference was this Blue Ocean strategy of creating a product that, by virtue of its niche, has a very clear value to its specific and highly targeted audience and through its specificity, has vastly reduced competition.
I would venture to say that American Printer’s B2Me strategy is a Blue Ocean strategy. It will be interesting to see how it fares and the extent to which competitors follow suit.
Heidi Tolliver-Walker Heidi is an industry analyst specializing in digital, one-to-one, personalized URL, and Web-to-print applications.