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August 4, 2009 2:46 AM   Subscribe

Do you receive customer (B2B) magazines from companies you work with? Do you actually read them?

I've been asked to put together some ideas for a customer (aka B2B or sometimes B2C) magazine. You know, the type that looks like an ordinary consumer magazine but only includes information about the company, their recent projects, products etc.

I want to make this magazine really stand out from the crowd by being something people actually want to read.

What I want to know is...

Does anyone actually read them? If not, what could make you want to? If you do, what do you like about them, and could you point me to any 'favourites'?

(I realise that this is a fairly dull-to-answer question. But any feedback would be really, really appreciated. :-))
posted by low_horrible_immoral to Work & Money (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My favorite work-related mag is COTS Journal.

Each issue is a bible of industry practice.
posted by @troy at 3:05 AM on August 4, 2009

Best answer: Sounds like you're talking about custom publishing, which is an art/science of its own. You're trying to hit that sweet spot of advertorial content and stuff people will actually want to read.

Best example I've ever seen personally is the once-a-month mini-magazines I get from Kroger, as a result of being in their card program. Lots of great recipes with amazing photography, juxtaposed with convenient coupons for the necessary ingredients.

You should be able to find lots of good examples via the Custom Publishing Council.
posted by jbickers at 3:46 AM on August 4, 2009

Veer! I'm a graphic designer and the little books they send out are so awesome. Different theme/format/graphic sensibility each time, and they just look like so much fun to make. The ones with clever graphic puzzles and riddles are my favorites.

This approach works because they are selling graphics themselves, so it wouldn't translate directly for a different type of company. But when I'm taking the books home to show my boyfriend and all my friends, that's good marketing.
posted by Fifi Firefox at 7:13 AM on August 4, 2009

Best answer: Yes, I get this kind of stuff. No, I don't read it or want it. The way you'd make me want it is by publishing something that wasn't marketing information about your company.
posted by majick at 7:24 AM on August 4, 2009

I get this kind of stuff from technology vendors from time to time. Sometimes I skim through and look at the pictures before recycling it, but that's pretty rare - only if the cover article is directly related to some technology need I am anticipating in the near future. I'd say that's happened once in the last three years I've been at my current job.

In my field, having a good, up-to-date, useful web presence is a lot more important when it comes to selling products.
posted by muddgirl at 8:26 AM on August 4, 2009

Response by poster: jbickers, yes, the sweet spot, that's the one. How to get there, that's the problem...

Nice answers, thanks all.
posted by low_horrible_immoral at 8:52 AM on August 4, 2009

Best answer: In IT certain companies are awash in similar publications. I would say that at best they're skimmed by executives, and in other cases the best you can hope for is that you have an article on the specific part of the business that the person picking it up is involved in. They're often found in executive waiting areas where there's little other choice in what to read. Or they're trawled through months later in a bullpen while a meeting is forming or while somebody's running a long process.

So if your business is software, for example, every issue should have a case study of some type, and then something that's akin to a short, not-too-general white paper about a hot technology topic. Then you would have the interview with the executive of the month and a few regular columns on, say, legal or industry topics. A humor page or column of some kind, maybe a cartoon or two, also help with the pick-up-ability. Do people want to read this? Not a lot. Do people really read this? Not as much as anyone would hope. But they kinda do. Just not in depth or with stickiness in the form of "Oh boy! The new XYZ magazine!"

It's really more of a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses sort of thing. "Oh, MNOP is moving to QRS instead of TUV. Better order some literature."
posted by dhartung at 12:28 PM on August 4, 2009

Whether or not I get around to reading those things depends entirely on how much fiber I've been eating.
posted by Jacqueline at 6:19 PM on August 4, 2009

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