Content marketing industry gets off to a great start in 2012

The new year has certainly got off to a great start for a thriving customer publishing industry: Redwood unveiled a new customer magazine for Virgin Media; there's no retirement for River Group as it is appointed to publish Life and Living magazine; August Media produced website wins new award; new senior hires at Future Publishing and John Brown; and as the world falls in love with Pinterest, what could the new love for ‘pinning' mean for brands?

January is known for being a gloomy month, so The Church of London set out to do something special for ‘Blue Monday' and produced a magazine called The Good Times, which looked at what make people happy.. The agency wrote, designed and printed the one-off magazine in seven days and distributed it around London to 10,000 lucky readers. The process was documented online and relied on submissions via their social media channels.

Following a competitive pitch, the River Group was appointed by McCarthy & Stone Retirement Living to publish Life & Living magazine. The magazine is set to be a key part of the company's 2012 marketing strategy and River Group is set to unveil the first issue of the quarterly publication in March.

Leading strategic content agency Redwood unveiled a new customer magazine for Virgin Media. The magazine reflects Virgin Media's customer communications strategy to engage and interact with customers and encourage discovery and exploration of the full range of its next generation entertainment, broadband and mobile phone services. It is also the first customer magazine to make use of augmented reality technology within its editorial pages with the AR app, Blippar. The launch edition includes a guided tour of the new magazine from Richard Branson, games, trailers and content related to TV shows, films and video games for the month ahead.

Award winning agency Seven on the other hand unveiled a new B2B publication for the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), the world's largest professional management accountancy body, and its US counterpart, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Seven worked with the two member bodies to launch CGMA magazine, a 52-pag publication and accompanying website that cover global management accountancy and broader business issues.

Redactive Media Group cemented a new relationship with the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE Ltd) and has been appointed to manage the design and commercial operations of IStructE's flagship membership publication, The Structural Engineer. The former fortnightly magazine has been re-launched as a 68-page monthly title to be distributed to the institution's 20,000 members.

The Association of Corporate Treasurers have appointed Think to provide all editorial and creative services for The Treasurer - published 10 times a year - alongside creating a magazine microsite, Together, to build professional relations online between issues.

Cambridge based agency, CPL has been making waves in the digital sphere with a new all-digital magazine launch on behalf of the newly created College of Social Work. The new publication, Social Work Matters, focuses on social workers themselves and examines how the profession can develop to meet the challenges it faces.

Reinforcing its people focus, Sappi Fine Paper Europe has launched a new customer-centric website that takes regional specificities into consideration. The revamp of the website was undertaken to ensure that Sappi's customers have easy access to relevant and up to date information about its products and initiatives.

Multi-channel content marketing platform, Ceros, started the year with the launch of an iPad app for online fashion retailer Boden. The app, designed by creative agency FMG, uses the iconic Boden photography and is to be published monthly to accompany the Boden paper catalogue. Check out the app in the iTunes store.

In other APA member news, award winning content agency August Media acquired the UK business of ID Media. The new acquisition brings with it a great pedigree and clients including Renault UK, News International, Deutsche Bank, World Wildlife Fund and Artichoke. August Media could also celebrate that, the digital arm of Kinleigh, Folkard & Hayward magazine, Completely London, won the Best Newcomer at the 2011 Blog Awards.

January also saw some new hires with several APA member agencies; Future Publishing, the special interest media group, appointed Nick King to the position of Digital Commercial Director. Nick joined from his role as Senior Digital Trader at News International.

John Brown on the other hand bolstered its team with the return of Michelle de Young to fill the role as Client Services Director. Michelle worked for the agency 14 years ago and will now be responsible for marketing as well as growing the business in the UK.

Interesting statistics show that content marketing campaigns, including blogs, can be especially for consumer electronics companies targeting women. A report from BlogHer - a guide to the hottest news and trends among women in social media - found that 69% of adult females in the US rely on blogs when they research smartphones, computers, tablets and other consumer electronics. The study also found that social media marketing is effective, with 53% saying they turn to Facebook, Twitter or another social network for information about potential purchases.

Proposed data protection regulation unveiled by the European Commission could mean marketers will have to gain explicit consent from consumers to use their personal data for campaigns, Marketing Week could report. This could pose a ‘sever threat' to marketers with the advertising industry saying it is ‘a brake on innovation, competitiveness and growth'. Read more here.

Marketing Week also wrote a feature on how tech-savvy marketers are maximising the impact of closed events by employing digital tools to give the wider public access to related content while still maintaining exclusivity. Exclusive events can earn brands love and loyalty when done well, but the proficient use of social media and digital tools mean that marketers can also widen an event's impact.

The mix of offline and online marketing activity is essential these days for brands to succeed, but how can brands win consumers' digital hearts and minds? According to Gartner's latest figures, smartphone sales now account for 26% of all mobile phone sales. It goes without saying, WallBlog noted, that brands ought to follow their customers in the digital world. But as the article pointed out, unfortunately many brands are racing ahead without really having pinpointed how their customers are connecting to them, their services and one another on mobile devices. The article highlighted four considerations that one must address to create real customer engagement in today's digital arena: relevance, collaboration and co-creation, connecting the digital and physical worlds and touch-based interactions.

Finally, the social online pinboard, Pinterest, has caused quite a stir across the internet in the last weeks. It works by letting users create online pinboards made up of photos and videos for different categories. This has opened new opportunities for brands, and we would love to hear how you are using it or if you are planning on using it for any of your clients.

Posted in
6thFeb 2012

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