With teamwork and channel marketing, the sky’s the limit

AppVertising von PressMatrix

Inspiring readers in the print sector is one thing. Winning over new and young readers – preferably digitally – is another matter. Andrea Iven, Managing Director of fortis medien GmbH, and Andreas Becker, specialist for digital marketing and content distribution at PressMatrix, took the issue in hand. The result: Numerous app downloads and a whole new feel for the customers.

PressMatrix: Mrs Iven, as managing director of fortis medien, a small-sized music publisher, you are responsible for the magazines “Harmonikawelt”, “zwiefach”, “akkordeon magazin” as well as the “Oide Wiesn”. Can you give us a brief insight into the thematic world of the magazines?

Andrea Iven: There will certainly be some readers who wonder what a Cologne publishing house has to do with traditional (folk) music. Well, perhaps more than you might think. As it happens, fortes medien GmbH has long been collecting experience in the world of cultural magazines – and in addition to the Bavarian “editorial and sales office” can rely on experienced employees to take care of the magazines.
Our magazines deal with active music making. With akkordeon magazin, Harmonikawelt and zwiefach we are working in a clearly defined environment, which means we can actually get to know almost all participants “personally” – our readers as well as our advertising customers.

PMX: How would you describe your target group?

AI: We could take our zwiefach target group as exemplary for all our target groups and magazines. Zwiefach is a folk-music magazine for singers, dancers and musicians. It is read by young and old alike (in fact we reach musicians from18 to 90 years). The themes folk music, folk culture and dance are so incredibly multi-layered.
A theme close to our heart is youth and the new musical generation. Having visited many events, we know that the folk musicians often play from childhood on. This love for the music seems to continue into adolescence, despite all alternatives. In zwiefach we also want to make the folk-music culture accessible to the younger generation, and in addition to the trusty traditions, we also want to see what is happening on new side-paths – so we’re curious, but always with an eye on – and an ear to – the old traditions.

In terms of addressing precisely this youth group and also of making our magazines “audible”, the decision for the PressMatrix App was the way to go – with the crucial benefit of meeting changing reading and information-acquisition habits.

PMX: In a conversation, you once said that our app with its enrichment opportunities helps your magazine “sing”. To what extent is AppVertising now the next step?

AI: Yes, exactly. My magazines are now audible and experienceable. For each issue we offer up to 4-5 hours of additional (audio) material which consists of YouTube links, audio files or even pieces exclusively rehearsed for us.
Our editorial staff and graphics department together create this added value.

But now our sales / marketing department were faced with the challenge of bringing this added value – our new applications – to the readers / listeners. Print distribution channels were familiar to us, but unfortunately, at that point, digital were not. Advertising for the apps in our magazines was not very effective. On the one hand there is a media break that is ignored at the company’s own peril, and on the other (we’ve only realise this very recently), we reach a completely new readership via digital channels – a new group to be addressed with different words and images.

PMX: What were your reasons for using AppVertising?

AI: With our own resources and channels we had soon reached our limits. Our print readers do not, or hardly ever, use the app. In fact we only have about 5 percent combi-readers, whose magazine subscription covers both print and digital versions. Our pilot project Oide Wiesn was perfect for AppVertising.

This project originated from a collaboration with three Oktoberfest hosts from the historical part of the “Wiesn”, the “Oidn Wiesn”. In August 2018, the zwiefach special issue Oide Wiesn was published in print and as an application.
The Oide Wiesn app is intended as a kind of travel and folk-music guide for all “Oide Wiesn” visitors. The target group of this special issue publication was thus several times larger than that of our actual magazines. For the promotion of such an – almost general-interest – app we needed the support of AppVertising.

PMX: How had you previously reached your readers and prospective customers?

AI: Though advertising in our own magazines, facebook and visiting or having a booth at relevant events.

The magazines zwiefach, akkordeon magazin, Harmonikawelt and Oide Wiesn of the fortes medien GmbH as iOS, android app and for the web.

PMX: Andreas Becker, can you briefly describe the case from your perspective. How do AppVertising measures work and what are their aims?

Andreas Becker: Unlike other AppVertising strategies, there were only a few weeks left to prepare for the boosts. Difficulty here – an app that is addressed to an event audience quickly loses interest after the event. All activities had to be precisely planned.

To generate rapid and effective growth, alongside campaigns and viral tools, we mainly use instruments to render users and target groups more transparent. The aim was to distribute the app as extensively as possible within the core target group and then to subsequently derive synergies for the zwiefach app.

PMX: What challenges does AppVertising have to overcome now?

AB: Various: Starting with apps that aren’t currently performing to titles with tens of thousands of users. The goals are the same – success! Whether it’s subscriber acquisition, distribution, retail or 360 degree content strategy.

AI: The project Oide Wiesn was and is a temporary project (August to October). For 2019, I think the project will be even broader. The first strategy talks with the Oktoberfest hosts have already taken place. Further cooperation partners need to be found. We’ve asked the city of Munich to authorise the Oide Wiesn app as an official app. In 2019, AppVertising will then have significantly more material, channels and options available to make the application known and popular throughout Bavaria and even nationwide.

Currently we are faced with the challenge of achieving transfers from the Oide Wiesn to zwiefach. From a “wide” angle back to “zoom”. And also to reach the young folk musicians.

PMX: The Wiesn Quiz was developed to time with the Oktoberfest and boost the app downloads. How successful was this measure?

AI: The quiz contributed significantly to the spread of the app, securing the largest download numbers, and it was great fun to boot.

AB: The Wiesn Quiz was deployed as a viral tool to make effective use of the campaign budget. Users were given a title after successful participation, which in turn could be shared in social media to encourage more users to join in. The Oide Wiesn app was displayed with the quiz content to guide the user to the installation process. During the Oktoberfest, 7,000 users participated within 16 days.

PMX: Mrs Iven, what response did you get from your readers and users?

AI: We don’t reach our traditional readers through these digital channels, so we received practically no feedback from them. But our “new” users commented and shared.

PMX:Did you make new target-group acquaintances?

AI:Definitely yes. I’ve discovered a completely new target group that appreciates the contents of our magazines, but wants them packaged and delivered differently.
On the one hand this “insight” is incredibly motivating; on the other, there are new tasks and challenges which have to be implemented in a small team.

PMX: Many companies work with agencies. Why didn’t you hire an online agency or similar?

AI: At the end of 2017, I declared digitalization to be a “top priority”. After intensive research, numerous discussions and long observation of the publishing market, I realised that this was a crucial matter and could even be a huge chance. Taking care of the distribution channels – including the relevant means of addressing the target groups – is one of the core competencies of a publishing house – and thus, in my view, not suitable for outsourcing. But it was clear that we needed digital partners. To seek and find the perfect partner, the briefing must be clearly worded. And here I come back to the top priority 😉.

PMX: How is the collaboration working out so far? Are the advertising ideas and material developed together or specified by one side?

AB: In the preliminary stages, we develop an individualised AppVertising strategy. In this, all parties are continually informed about all measures carried out during the boost. During the execution all technical components, which are necessary for optimal user guidance, are positioned completely in the background. Close coordination takes place in strategic campaign planning, choice of visual imagery, texts and landing pages and wherever there are surface visual changes.

AI: Working with our perfect partner (see question 11) is teamwork. Strategies are worked out and formulated together, ideas for advertising content are proposed by both sides. Often the wording came from Mr. Becker while we worked on the graphic implementation. The initial spark for the Wiesn Quiz came from Mr. Becker and our editorial staff expertly translated it into a reality. The budgeting of the individual projects is proposed by Mr. Becker, then jointly agreed and approved. As far as competence and creativity go, the collaboration is constructive, motivating and successful and is also very beneficial for the overall workflow.

PMX: A new collaboration inevitably leads to new perspectives. What do you both take with you

AB: The very pleasant cooperation with Ms. Iven is not over yet. We are currently working on the zwiefach app as well as on many other great products and ideas from fortes medien.

AI: Thanks to the Oidn Wiesn experience with Mr. Becker, we are ready to greet the new year 2019 with a digitally optimistic fortes medien GmbH. Our magazines will be audible and readable everywhere on the web – on the smartphone, tablet, PC, and of course still in its wonderful, high-quality print form. For sales channels, the sky’s the limit.

PMX: Thanks for the interview!

Short Vita Andrea Iven: The business administration graduate (born 1968) of fortes medien GmbH has been successfully involved in the publishing business for more than two decades. Long-standing contacts and practical experience in the industry make her a proven connoisseur of the market. The native of Munich has two sons and lives and works alternately in Cologne and in the Upper Bavarian Fuchstal.

Short Vita Andreas Becker: Andreas Becker (41) is a specialist in digital marketing and content distribution. He knows both the publishing business and the digital world and has worked in a wide range of media areas, including as editor-in-chief, developer, and innovator – most recently for Delius Klasing publishers, where he headed the digital subsidiary DK-InterActive.

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