Rise of the magalogue

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CMJ launches new magazine for retailers to give to their customers.

If you’re reading this feature then you obviously love a free magazine as much as the rest of the population, so why not take advantage of a captive audience by producing your own?

If you already communicate with customers in print by producing a catalogue it’s perhaps time to stop and take stock of what you’re actually getting for your money.

“Very few people pick up a catalogue, and if they get sent it they don’t spend much time looking at it,” says The Company of Master Jewellers (CMJ) marketing and communications executive Sarah Carpin. “If it’s a free magazine, they are much more likely to read it.”

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Buying group CMJ is firmly behind the advantages of magazines as opposed to catalogues and for the first time this year it will be publishing a magazine called Bejewelled that its retailer members can personalise and distribute to shoppers as their own.

The buying group previously produced a catalogue for retailers but interest dropped off and last year just 25 of its 125 members chose to take part in the scheme. The CMJ had considered producing a magazine previously but didn’t have the expertise until Carpin, who has spent her career editing jewellery and watch magazines, joined the group earlier this year.

There has been a strong reaction from its members. The first issue of Bejewelled will be published in September and already more than 60 CMJ members have signed up to the scheme.

Carpin describes Bejewelled as a “magalogue”. It is a mix between a magazine and a catalogue and she is creating a bank of editorial articles and catalogue-style product features that retailers can choose from. In the editorial section, Carpin is writing generic jewellery and watch features, such as guides to buying diamonds and coloured gemstones, jewellery trends pages, celebrity style features and guides to watch movements and complications. In the brands section, retailers can choose to feature images from CMJ’s supplier members depending on which brands they stock.

There will also be a page in the magazine that retailers can use to promote their store by creating content such as a message from the owner, pictures of the store or coverage of a recent instore event. And for towns with more than one CMJ retailer taking the magazine, there is the option of using the alternative magazine name of Lustre to avoid a clash.

“The whole marketing strategy is not new and the multiples have been doing it for years and it promotes strong loyalty,” says Carpin. “Bejewelled will be a glossy, luxe magazine and will help independent retailers to punch above their weight and put them in the same bracket as big businesses.”

Besides the fact that the editorial is all pre-prepared for you, the best partabout teaming up with the CMJ for a customer magazine is the price. The CMJ is running the project on a notfor-profit basis and by also charging the brands featured in the magazine, it
has managed to reduce the price of the magazine for retailers to a highly costeffective £1 per copy with a minimum order of 2,000 copies. And as it’s a notfor-profit scheme, the price could drop further as more retailers and brands get involved.

The downsides to the CMJ’s magazine are that it is only available to members, so if you’re not a CMJ member then you can’t access the scheme, and also for retailers that are looking to create a magazine that’s unique and individual, it’s not going to be achieved by this mass-market approach.

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