The NCT is the UK's leading charity for parents. Probably best known for its ante-natal classes, it provides mums and dads with practical advice and evidence-based information about birth. Its breastfeeding counsellors, social networks, campaigns and information sources all help over a million parents each year through pregnancy, birth and the early days of parenthood.
New mothers and mothers-to-be are hungry for information and advice. But the marketplace is crowded; there are more than 55 pregnancy and parenting magazines on the market, to say nothing of websites and online forums. How does a customer magazine for a parenting charity perform in such a market?
The Advantage Study has been conducted by Milward Brown for 5 years now, sponsored by the Royal Mail on behalf of the APA. Since 2004, more than 68 customer titles have been researched and their effectiveness assessed for clients. It means that the success of a customer magazine can now be measured against a base of over 11,000 respondents, representing an industry average. And NewGen has proved to be extremely successful when compared to that study average.
Engagement is an important metric for customer magazines; it belies the myth that customer magazines are ignored by recipients. In the case of NewGen, it emerges that 69% of recipients read half to all of the content, compared to 54% in the study average.
Hardly any readers, just 6%, spend less than 5 minutes with NewGen; in fact, a significantly higher than average proportion of members (24%) spend between 20 and 30 minutes looking at the magazine, despite its relatively modest pagination.
It is clearly the editorial content which achieves this engagement. An impressive 71% of readers find the content relevant to them (against a 55% industry average). 60% of readers discuss the content with a friend, relative or colleague (compared to just 22% in the industry average). And, crucial to brand awareness, 39% of readers tell someone else about the NCT and spread the word.
Engaging so successfully with the readers provides a customer magazine with a great opportunity to influence attitudes towards the client - something which NewGen does to great effect. Opinions of the NCT show marked differences between those who read the magazine, and those who do not.
Asked whether they trust the NCT to provide advice on pregnancy, birth and early parenthood, a massive 97% of readers agree - whereas only 66% of non-readers feel the same way.
88% of readers agree that the NCT is actively campaigning to improve the experience of becoming a parent in the UK - against only 44% of non-readers, who are clearly less aware of the charity's activities.
And while only 48% of non-readers feel that the NCT has led the way in improving parents' experiences of pregnancy, childbirth and early parenthood, that rises to 84% agreement amongst readers.
Positively influencing opinion is an ideal of most marketing media; this research demonstrates conclusively a significant difference in attitude between readers and non-readers.
The magazine has secured its place in the homes, as well as the hearts, of its readers. Half the readers keep their copy for over a month; 20% then keep it for reference. And a massive 81% of readers pick the magazine up between 1 and 4 times before they have finished with it - despite the demands of being a mum!
And its not surprising, given that level of engagement, that calls to action within the magazine are particularly effective. 37% of readers act on a piece of advice or information they read in NewGen. And an impressive 21% (against an industry average of 13%) buy a product advertised in the magazine - music to advertisers' ears.
The independent research proves the success of NewGen on behalf of its client. Its editorial content engages with its readers, and captures their time and attention, in a most competitive market. It influences their opinions of the client, and turns the readers into brand ambassadors. And it drives them to act and to purchase as a result of their reading. NewGen is an exemplar of customer magazine success.