Furniture companies still spend most of their money on marketing measures in print media. They invest it in printing brochures, advertisements and customer magazines. This makes sense, because the advertising impact of print media is good: a study shows that the advertising perception of magazines is 76 percent.
Daily newspapers have 67 percent, followed by websites with 63, television and radio with about 50 percent. Nevertheless, the furniture industry is investing more and more in online marketing and less and less in print advertising. Because, of course, you reach different target groups through different channels.
We asked Christian Peters, publisher of the magazines Wohn!Design and Ideat, the first issue of which will be published in April 2021, what future he sees for print media for premium products and how they can work for furniture companies.
How do you classify your magazines Wohn!Design and Ideat?
Wohn!Design belongs to the premium home magazines like "Architektur & Wohnen" or AD. They all have a circulation between 60,000 and 90,000 and about 30 ads per issue. Ideat comes from France and even has 90 ads on about 300 pages. I am therefore convinced that the statement "print is becoming less and less" is not fundamentally true.
When it comes to premium brands, they need adequate presentation, which is what premium magazines offer in particular. This is perhaps comparable to high-end watches: In glossy magazines, you often find double-page advertisements in which they can be presented much better than in social media areas.
Even watches for 25,000 euros get lost in the flood of images on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. It's the same with furniture. A well-designed print ad conveys much more information through its haptics and aesthetics than fast-moving images on tablets and smartphones.
How do you work with furniture manufacturers?
In a friendly connection. I reject the kind that has become common in recent years, where editors offer companies to write an article about them if they place an ad.
Readers notice if an article is the hook for an ad and then no longer take the report seriously. Magazines must have a clear profile and do independent, free and journalistic work. This is the only way to get a loyal and interested readership, which in turn is important for advertisers.
What is the importance of print media for the furniture industry?
Readers interested in design want to read about special brands, companies and products, about quality and value. Especially if they are willing to spend a lot of money to buy a durable, sustainable product, they are interested in the story behind it, which they want to read at their leisure.
That's why I believe print works - especially in the premium sector. However, I don't believe that ads often lead directly to sales. But they are very important for manufacturers, especially if they are high-quality and particularly aesthetic. They attract attention, are remembered and shape the image of a brand.
What is the difference between print and online media?
Online marketing works by repeatedly and penetratingly feeding the same offers and images into the channels. Once a term has been googled, you get the corresponding advertisements for days.
This is annoying to users and erodes their trust in the medium. This was proven by the Kantar Study 2020. Print titles enjoy the highest level of trust among all media offerings for news and information gathering, while social media are slipping into a trust deficit.
Ad pages are another advantage of print: They can be designed like works of art and, in good print, are perceived and remembered as such. Apart from advertising, print is better at telling stories.
We have the ambition and the space to present interesting things and to do so with a serenity that a high-quality magazine exudes and that is desired and appreciated by more and more readers. Magazines provide enjoyable respites from everyday life and I believe that we all need and seek this more and more in our fast-paced times.
How do you assess the situation of the Living magazines in Germany?
The magazine with the highest circulation is "Schöner Wohnen". In the past, the paid circulation was around 400,000, today it is 170,000. Like many others, the magazine works a lot in the do-it-yourself area, gives tips on how to beautify or optimise the home, and presents corresponding products.
Premium magazines inform about other topics - and do so with an expertise that is hard to find in other media. I call this "curating". For example, we know the few hundred manufacturers in the world who supply special furniture. Very few people have the time to find and get to know them themselves. We make our knowledge available to them and offer a service that fits their needs.
How much courage does it take to launch a new magazine?
A lot! But I am convinced that especially premium magazines work in the long run, even if the trend in publishing houses is towards saving money and downsizing the editorial staff. We are aimed at people who - in a nutshell - are interested in beauty. That gets lost in all the price discussions.
But surrounding oneself with beauty - whether it's art or furniture - gives one something infinitely meaningful and sensual. I believe that there are many people who find that good. It is for them that we make Ideat. The mother magazine comes from France and is the most successful lifestyle magazine there.
The topics go far beyond design and living, into fashion, music and the entire cultural sphere, including travel. Ideat describes everything that has to do with aesthetics and sensuality. In this wealth of topics, there is no alternative magazine on the market.
How do furniture companies profit best from your print magazines?
With good products, cool people and exciting stories, companies are always right with us. We like to report on extraordinary company owners, designers, idiosyncratic ideas and show products that we think are good. In the end, this selection is very personal, but it is part of our curation that our readers can orientate themselves by.
Christian Peters is the publisher of the magazines Wohn!Design and Ideat.
Author: Christine Sommer-Guist