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Innovations in Digital Publishing

  |  September 14, 2012   |  Comments

Whether it’s dynamic redirects for specific platforms, purchasing in Twitter, projectable purchases, or stickers and QR codes, innovation for the digital publishing industry is still on the rise.

To say it’s been an interesting time for anyone in the magazine publishing industry is like explaining a tsunami as some choppy waves. The magazine publishing teams on the front lines are battling challenges from every turn:

  • Newsstand sales are going down.
  • Technical distribution platforms are becoming more stringent in their rules, regulations and “participation fees.”
  • Renewals are a key challenge.
  • Advertisers are asking for more data, more accountability and bigger results.

Yet, through all of this, innovations for the digital publishing industry are still on the rise. I’ve been speaking to many new and up-and-coming companies about recent innovations that have a material impact for publishers and marketers in general and here is what I have uncovered to date.

Some of these are not crazy, or even super new, but they are innovative. I’m both encouraged and excited by this short list, and continue to be bullish on the magazine market. In print or in digital success is within our reach and an evolution is under way.

Dynamic Redirects for Specific Platforms

While the iPad is king, the truth is that 40 percent of people who read digitally still do so on a PC. Innovative publishers have started to set up offers on their site to dynamically direct people to the offer that matches the technical platform they are visiting.

Purchasing in Twitter

One new company is making it possible for people who see something on a tweet in reply and buy it. This opens up endless potential for selling single issues with hot covers, or even subscriptions – not to mention featured products inside issues. I’m curious to see how this unfolds.

Purchasing Inside the Issue

My company partnered with ShopAdvisor to allow people reading a magazine to buy almost anything they come across (advertising or editorial). This new way to offer access to “impulse buys” in context could spark changes to the way advertisers bring products to market in the digital world.

Stickers & QR Codes

Might sound silly but is also innovative. Most magazine publishers now have the ability to connect with readers instantaneously when they order and issue or buy a digital subscription. Magazine publishers are also beginning to see that retail partnerships and consumer events enable them to introduce a digital edition by placing stickers on current print titles, or other marketing materials to bridge the offline to online world.

Projectable Purchases

Today, some of the most innovative companies have found ways to project a newsstand or a sale onto a wall and allow customers to touch the wall, or take a photo, and make a purchase. This brings the concepts of mobile shopping to an entirely new level.

This list of innovations is just the start. I’d love to hear what innovations you are working on, or with.


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Jeanniey Mullen

Jeanniey Mullen is the vice president of marketing at NOOK by Barnes and Noble, focused on business growth and customer acquisition.

Prior to her role at NOOKTM Jeanniey launched a wearables fashion technology company called Ringblingz. Before getting into the wearables business, Jeanniey was the chief marketing officer (CMO) of Zinio, where she grew the business by more than 427 percent, into one of the largest global digital newsstands. Other notable roles in her career include her involvement as the executive director and senior partner at OgilvyOne, where she led the digital Dialogue business and worked with Fortune 50 brands including IBM, Unilever, and American Express, and being a general manager at Grey Direct. At Grey Direct Jeanniey launched the first email marketing division of a global advertising agency. Prior to her time in advertising, Jeanniey spent seven years in retail leading a variety of groups from Consumer Relations and Operations, to Collections and Digital at JCPenney.

One of Jeanniey's favorite times in her career was when she founded the Email Experience Council (which was acquired by the Direct Marketing Association). Jeanniey is a recognized "Women in Business," a frequent keynote speaker, and has authored three books and launched a number of companies ranging from entertainment to technology and fashion.

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