Magazines as a means to self-expression
Support in their every day lives
People are increasingly concerned with self-improvement. Things like activity and learning holidays, evening classes and book clubs have enjoyed unprecedented growth. Just as the Victorians were renowned for their self-help attitude, so the quest for new skills, expertise and insight has caused Henley Centre to dub the growing numbers caught up in this trend the “new Victorians”.
This desire for betterment and change means people are increasingly looking for inspiration and help in improving their everyday lives. Core magazine readers tend to be more adventurous than other core media users and display a particular desire for self-improvement and help.
Guidance through life-events
Life today is a whole lot more complex than it used to be. Previously a lack of money, choice, travel and opportunities tended to mean a pre-destined existence with a partner and job for life and a stoical shrug about health, emotional and other issues. Today, it’s very different – and individuals bounce through their lives in a far more varied and complex way than their parents did.
As a result most people are faced by a greater number of so-called ‘life-events’ and have less steerage from their family and community about how to deal with these.
Because magazines enjoy particular trust with their readers and because they can be kept for reference, magazines are able to deliver a real edge in this arena.
Targeting consumers by life events, and providing guidance, help and support, is certainly an effective means of engaging with them, but more than that, successful engagement of this kind can lead to long-term relationship building.
People read particular magazines, of course, because of the life stages and events which currently involve them: from teenager to golfer, from having a baby to coping with retirement. At the same time, core magazine enthusiasts do seem to experience more life events than most other individuals as illustrated by the graph on the right.
Trust and perceived competence is an essential precursor to being seen as a credible source of help and advice. As new life options crop up challenging different groups in society and business, magazines’ reputation underline their in-built advantage and their readers’ and advertisers’ expectations – to spot these, capture the potential, make them directly relevant to readers and then provide the requisite information, help and guidance.
Today life stage events spread across age, social class and gender groups with less regard for traditional demograhics than ever before. They can sometimes unify different demographic groups. Identifying those with common interests, fears and anxieties can be a good way to trigger the process.
Helping people deal with their lives – and their jobs – through the pages of their magazine will undoubtedly engender strong reader engagement. But providing guidance of this kind also presents publishers with a host of opportunities to develop brand extension material – such as specials, handbooks, social events, conferences, on-line support and counseling networks.