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Last week Adestra sponsored the Professional Publishers Association (PPA) annual conference. We have a number of publishing clients and it’s a great opportunity to talk with some of them, and see what’s buzzing in their world.

Turns out that, as far as marketing goes, publishers are working on the same issues as most other industries: how to adapt to changing technologies and more sophisticated customers.

There were three big trends that I noticed, and I think they’re all applicable far beyond publishing:

Going mobile

The UK publishing industry is leading the way when it comes to mobile apps: British-produced apps account for upwards of 25% of the market[1]. But that doesn’t mean all their websites or email communications are entirely mobile-friendly. Working on implementing responsive design, and tailoring content to platforms is still very much a work in progress.

New revenue streams

One of the key quotes I took away from the sessions was that, “retailers have become very good at being publishers, now it’s time for publishers to work on becoming better retailers.[2]“  Affiliate marketing programs, curated content, and the ability to deliver premium offers to premium customers are all top of mind. Also big was ensuring you’re partnering with the right vendors to implement systems and analytics to execute and measure these new programs.

Developing a single customer view

Customers are engaging with publishers on a variety of platforms, sometimes many at the same time. So it’s important to deliver a consistent, tailored experience that defies hardware and location. This means a rock-solid brand image across media, and the ability to track customer behaviour and personalise content, no matter how they may access it.


credit: Scott Brinker, @chiefmartec

So what does all this mean for your digital marketing strategy?

It means ensuring you’re designing for a multi-screen reality, with responsive design, and clear ways to complete a call to action on whichever device your reader happens to have picked up.

It means ensuring promotions align tightly with brand, and all your communications, (including emails, landing pages, website, and apps, as well as offline ads and products) offer a consistent experience.

It means collecting and maintaining a clean, robust database of your customer and contact data, testing what resonates, and using those results to deliver relevant, personalised, and timely content.

And above all, it means collaborating with your marketing technology vendors to ensure this can be your reality, too.

[1] PPA Publishing Futures Survey 2013
[2] Marcus Rich, dmg media, during the “Publishing Futures: The Brand and Beyond” session