The triumph march of digital marketing - How digital transformation is changing corporate publishing

Newspapers and publishers have been in transition for a long time now - and corporate publishing is also increasingly confronted with the paradigm shift: digital information offers are more and more forcing the print versions out of the market. Corporate publishers need to adjust their strategies so as not to be detached from the trends of the digital revolution.

Digitized Publishing – a foreseeable development

Classic media has already demonstrated it or is still in the middle of the change processes: multimedia processing, cross-media distribution and new habits of use require editorial departments to rethink and the creation of a new, adapted content offering. Meanwhile this development is also making its way into Corporate Media. The numbers of customer or member magazines in the print version have been continuously declining in the last twenty years; By contrast, the expenditure for digital services have increased significantly, as illustrated by Statista's analysis of corporate publishing in recent years in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

Most recently, at the beginning of 2018, BMW, one of the largest providers of a customer magazine, decided to end the print version. Instead, the magazine will be continued as a digital-only offer. And the car manufacturer is not alone in this regard: a large number of companies now rely on digital distribution channels to address their customers or members. In the conversion, however, not only forms of the principle digital-only are chosen, but often digital and printed versions are distributed side by side

New forms of Corporate Publishing

This option however is only a short-term solution - in the long run, there is no way around digitizing corporate content. This is more about the social development than about other considerations such as the often mentioned lower costs. While it is true that digitisation eliminates a great deal of printing and material costs, making resources available for other projects. For this, however, high-quality content must be provided continuously. In most cases, this requires increased spending on the production of appropriate content, if not the creation of a dedicated editorial team that meets the constant demand for content.

So, lower process costs are rarely the motivation for switching to a digital offer. Rather, it is a change in user behavior and the availability of mobile devices, which are crucial for the step away from the print media. The users want individual information options, detached from conventional brand content. The content is no longer limited to the company and its products, but encompasses a much broader spectrum: lifestyle, event experience and professional articles, in which the products only occupy a small part of the presentation and in which much more information on relevant topics stand in the foreground, are the new aspects of Corporate Publishing.

So the responsible teams work less and less as actual publishers, but take over tasks that are more likely to be found in editorial or journalistic teams. The company and its brand take a back seat in these processes, their content, their mediation and the media they use take their place instead.

Modern Corporate Publishing takes on a number of other aspects of the new digital possibilities. With a multi-channel distribution of the offered content, users are addressed not only in all available ways, but also on all devices. Thus, the contents are always available at any desired time and allow the user a high degree of customisation. Thanks to a good inter-linking of content, it is also possible to find and track your own content interests faster and easier among the large number of offering companies. Finally, with the use of digital content, a more flexible handling of the content provided and easier scaling is possible, which facilitates the work of the corporate publishers.

Challenges of modern Corporate Publishing

Especially the last-mentioned aspects related to the users pose major problems for most Corporate Publishers when digitizing their offers: the inter-linking of the contents and an effective multichannel distribution are essential in order to make the content quickly available in different ways. Without the right options or tools, this process is very time-consuming and costly, especially if it does not create the right structures. For this purpose, the full potential of these new, digital options is usually not utilized at all: the magazines are published as a pure copy of the print versions without using the advantages of the other channels. Once again, the relevance of knowing the potential of the individual options in order to make multichannel distribution as effective as possible is once again apparent.

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