As content marketing matures and develops there will be more focus on the buyer’s journey. We can use it to package our content in different ways for various stages of the journey. In order to have an impact early on in the journey we will need to use a combination of digital and physical channels.Today traditional push advertising and analog channels like magazines have taken a backseat to digital. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be very efficient at certain stages of the buyer’s journey. For example, new research conducted by PostNord in Sweden (disclosure: I work for PostNord) shows that when asked “If a commercial offer was the same independent of channel, where would you prefer to get it?” around 50% responded that they prefer direct mail, compared to just 3% on Facebook. Apparently we’re looking for other kinds of interaction with brands in social media. Another interesting result is that direct mails often result in activities. 86% of the participants said that if they found the offer interesting, it led them to visit the store (online or in person) or get in touch. More than 60% made a purchase, while 44% talked about it on social media and 16% talked about it with friends and family. All in all, this means that in the beginning of a Buyer’s journey bought media like DM can work just as well as SEO or social media to create attention and interest.

At the other end of the journey, when we have won the customer, we need to work at evolving the relationship. It’s easy to focus on digital as the only way forward, but there is a lot to be said for physical media, like a customer magazine. Research from PostNord shows that 68% of those interviewed prefer reading a magazine, in contrast 17% preferred to get the content in a digital format. Almost as many said that they had a better impression of brands that used printed content.

A study PostNord conducted into magazine reading in Denmark recently offered some interesting results. More than 50% of respondents told us that it’s easier to do deep reading in a magazine. About the same number said that they liked the feel of holding a magazine. They feel like they are spoiling themselves when they spend time with a magazine. More than half of the respondents hold off on reading a magazine until they have ample time to do it, and they also said that they are much more likely to re-read an article in a printed magazine. Quality time indeed!

Is this an age thing? Not as much as you might think. Participants aged 18-29 in the Danish study also preferred printed magazines, appreciated the feeling of holding one and spent more time reading printed magazines. One conclusion we can draw from the results is that if we really want to have one-on-one time with our customers, magazines are hard to beat.

My point is this: We need to use data and insights to map the journey our customers take from awareness to purchase and beyond. Then we can determine and experiment with different channels and formats. Even in this digital era we need to stay objective and really look at what channels our target audience prefer to recieve content in. And our overall aim at all times should be to look for convergence between paid, earned and owned media, while combining digital and analog channels for the best results

This was originally posted on LinkedIn in December, 2014