Why would a company that sells luxury goods to high-end clients decide to publish a digital magazine? How does that make sense? Why would corporations become digital publishers? And how are tablets involved in this phenomenon?
First, let’s understand when and where consumers use tablets. According to Forrester Research, “US online adults (ages 18-plus) who own a tablet primarily use their tablets via Wi-Fi at home, during the evening, and in three main places: 1) the living room; 2) the bedroom; and 3) the kitchen.”
Did you notice that one very obvious location that is missing? The office. That means, in general, tablets purchased by consumers are powered on in places of relaxation and leisure.
For example, picture a tablet (a.k.a. “the second screen”) on a coffee table in someone’s living room. The person is watching TV and a commercial comes on. In the old days, he would likely flip through a coffee table magazine during that time. Today, he picks up his tablet. Unfortunately, your organization may not have a tablet magazine or advertising to reach your target audience.
Think of corporate publishing as a way to reach consumers with both content and marketing collateral. It’s indirect sales. Corporate publishing is a way to engage people without the “shopping cart” icons and the “buy now” buttons glaring in their faces. It’s fast becoming one of the ways in which marketers can follow Forrester’s advice to “use tablets to enhance discovery and depth.”
In this latest installment to my tablet series, which kicked off a few weeks ago with a look at how tablets are transforming the marketplace, I now turn my attention to some organizations that are shining stars in using tablets for creative publishing.
REI: Getting In Gear With Tablet Marketing
REI is a retailer for all things “outdoor,” such as clothing, shoes, and equipment. Its target demographic: people who are fanatical about the outdoors. So REI began to think about creative, out-of-the-box ways to engage this audience. As a result, it decided to create ads for a tablet-optimized magazine. It also sponsored the “Gear Guide” issue of “Backpacker” magazine.
The “Gear Guide” issue engages consumers in a way that’s unique and fun. For example, outdoor fanatics can “swipe” snow off of their tablet screens and underneath is advertising for a REI product. Also, they can picture themselves standing on a cliff in the mountains. When they rotate their tablets, they get a new perspective from the cliff’s edge. How’s that for engaging? Are consumers likely to pick up their tablets in their bedrooms, living rooms, or kitchens and “play” with the “Gear Guide”? You bet.
Now don’t get me wrong: It’s not that direct advertising doesn’t exist within these publications. The ads are just buried beneath swipeable snow or some other dynamic feature. As Teresa Demal, formerly part of Adobe Digital Publishing Suite Team, said, REI is a retailer that successfully uses “interactivity in order to not only lengthen the amount of time that readers spend in the ad, but also provide moments of joy and entertainment.”
REI’s tablet ads have two essential features: They’re targeted and engaging. Engaging means that the ads are “cool” and “people want to spend time with them.” Targeted means they understand the tastes of the target demographic. REI’s tablet strategy has created a space for its consumers to “travel” and dream--a space in which the hidden path to purchase becomes more alluring.
Like REI, more and more retailers today are finding that an interactive tablet experience is the perfect low- or no-pressure zone to engage with their loyal customers. Additionally, the results are measurable and immediately available, making the data actionable. Return on investment (ROI) is quantifiable with metrics on readership, interaction, click throughs, conversions, and revenue. For all of these reasons, corporate publishing is an increasingly appealing option for many organizations looking to engage their tablet users.
Sotheby’s: From Glossy Paper To Digital Catalogs
Sotheby’s, one of the world’s oldest auction houses and with salesrooms in major cities around the world, holds approximately 300 auctions each year. As a high-end auction house catering to the perpetually connected customer, Sotheby’s must be at the leading edge of technology. As a result, it is committed to continual metamorphosis in the digital world, from its first release of an online catalog in 2000 to today’s innovations in tablet content creation.
As I mentioned in a previous article in this series, tablet users are influential. Sotheby’s understands that. Its customer base is comprised of influencers and early adopters. Marketing strategies must be adjusted and tailored to reach them. So the Sotheby’s creative team dreamed up ways to leverage a tablet’s capabilities to the fullest extent. In this way, Sotheby’s has extended its reach into the homes, offices, and everyday lives of its influential customers. Can’t attend an exhibit? The exhibit can be brought to you.
For example, customers can use their tablets to visually and digitally “immerse themselves in an object’s beauty and rich history through video, 360-degree views, pinch-and-zoom images, and other forms of tactile, emotive exploration.” Imagine being drawn into a piece of contemporary art or having the ability to rotate a piece of Chinese ceramics or a fine jewel. Sotheby’s has created that type of engaging experience. And just as a customer can jot down notes or “dog ear” the pages of particular pieces in a paper catalog, the digital catalog has the same features.
As Michael Redding, Sotheby’s former creative director of digital media services, once explained: “We saw a great opportunity to combine the aesthetic beauty of our print catalogs with the imagination and interactive capabilities of digital to bring the extraordinary scholarship and photography that Sotheby’s is known for to life.”
With a tablet-based catalog, Sotheby’s is also able to save costs by not having to print physical catalogs with hundreds of pages and send them to every customer via mail. Think of all the trees that are saved.
Could Tablet Publishing Be Your Next Marketing Opportunity?
REI and Sotheby’s provide great examples of how tablet publishing can go corporate and drive customer engagement, loyalty, and sales. As you’re thinking through engagement strategies with your tablet users, why not consider this question: Could creating a magazine, catalog, or another tablet-friendly publication provide your next marketing opportunity?