April 3, 2017

Enjoying printed insight magazines on planes & trains

By Paul Laughlin

magazinesWith lots of business travel this week & last, together with having already recently authored a detailed post on Brexit letter, I’ve decided to take it easier this time. Based on my reading while travelling, here is a review of a few articles from printed magazines that I found helpful.

I’ve previously sung the praises of listening podcasts (which I find particularly useful while driving on business) and insight newsletters (that I skim during my morning routine). However, probably like you, I also spend a fair amount of time traveling on trains & planes. During these journeys, there are times when it is just easier to have a printed magazine to read. I, for one, still value that format.

But, as more and more valued insight publications go digital only (including the much mourned DataIQ Magazine), what is there still out there in printed form to read?

Well, in this post I hope to share a few with you. Please ignore the irony of (because of the media) sharing links to their digital versions. If we have a chance to meet for a coffee, I will gladly lend you a physical version, or you can subscribe at their sites.

Why the insight challenge is different for B2B businesses

The first article to grab my attention (whilst flying in this case), was one in Database Marketing magazine. For those familiar with this publication, for many years it has provided the ‘voice of the industry‘. A chance to keep up to date with what is happening in the worlds of data & database marketing providers.

Despite being predominantly full of ‘supplier voices’, it still manages to have some article well worth reading by client-side data & analytics leaders. In this, first one, a quartet of Simon Lawrence (Uncommon Knowledge), Nigel Magson (Adroit), Jon Clarke (Cyance) & Adam Erbert (Market Location) share their experience of applying data insights in B2B contexts. As they highlight, a lot of groundwork is needed to improve data that is normally in a worse state than B2C data & in which any definition of Single Client View is more complex/nuanced. Despite the challenges, the authors so a good job of highlighting the opportunity for B2B firms to benefit from insights through segmentations, prioritised relationship marketing & list filtering. Worth a read for anyone working in B2B.

Controversial analysis of ‘Minorities march on Middle England’

In danger of reading more like a Daily Mail headline, this is actually the title of a fascinating (if controversial) article by Professor Richard Webber. Readers will probably know him as the ‘father of Mosaic’ and arguably the widespread use of sociodemographic segmentations purchased by so many businesses. Always worth listening too (especially to understand the attribution work that goes on behind the scenes when launching an updated version), in this short piece, Prof Webber outlines evidence of cultural diversity reaching Middle England.

Based on simply postcode & surname analysis (with ethnic origin implied by surnames), it is interesting to hear evidence of this movement away from city centres (including inner London). The evidence for greater use of multiple retailers & questions on readiness of leafy suburbs to offer greater diversity are interesting. Worth reading & just checking that your own interpretations are assuming an ethnic origin mix in your consumers that is outdated (in terms of location).

Are you considering emotions & behavioural biases in your treats for customers?

As an associate of British Psychological Society (BPS), to inform my coaching work, I also benefit from receiving monthly “The Psychologist” magazine. In the April 2017 edition, I was pleased to see an article from Jonathan Myers on how we all make choices.

With the engaging title of “Chocolate cake, sex & valuing behaviour“, in this well written piece, Jonathan offers a layman’s overview of the evidence for both emotions and other behavioural biases negatively influencing how we make choices. Despite also working on application of this understanding to Financial Services, Jonathan offers an engaging list of examples from everyday life & wider society. This is supported by evidence from both behavioural trials and neuroscience monitoring studies.

A useful read, especially as an introduction to this field.

Chocolate cake, sex, and valuing behaviour

Vanilla fudge sundae, or raspberry ice cream with crushed nut sprinkles? What to wear in the morning. The best time to sell an investment. Take a weekend break or stay at home? Choose the ‘lesser of evils’ from two unpleasant medical choices. Stay in the EU or come out?

Stressful thinking patterns are bad for your heart, so stop & breath deeply

If you are also a director, you may have also signed up to the Institute of Directors and benefit from their range of member benefits. For me, the use of airport lounges & Regus business lounges alone pays the cost of my subscription. Anyway, avoiding an advert for them, I reference the IoD as they also send me the beautifully produced “Director” magazine. On a train this time, it was my final magazine reading to share this week.

Following up on the above psychological theme, the IoD editorial team included an interesting short article, summarising a recent study published in The Lancet. That study suggests the link between stress and cardiovascular disease could lie in the brain. It seems some people may have a higher sensitivity to too much stressful thinking in the amygdala causing more white blood cells to be produced by bone marrow, causing damage to the arteries & greater risk of heart attack.

Just one more reason to take the advice of Mindfulness trainers to heart. Practice breathing exercises & being more present focussed. It has helped me.

The science of stress

New research suggests that brain activity could predict stress-induced cardiovascular disease – and that some of us are more susceptible to it than others. We look at how controlling work-related stress delivers benefits far beyond mental wellbeing Even though stress is increasingly recognised for the serious mental health issue that it is, it is often underrepresented as a significant risk to physical health.

What will you read next?

Do you still value printed magazines to read on journeys? If so, let us know & please recommend (in comments section below) any you would recommend for our readers.

Which just leave me to wish safe travels for us all this month.