Marketing firm sells Newsstand magazine apps to local dealers to better engage car buyers

Today’s digital newsstands are open to anyone willing to produce a digital magazine, whether interactive or replica. Because of that, it really resembles the post office more than the corner newsstand. Just put a stamp on your letter or package and it gets sent off. Just put it into the digital newsstand and the reader will soon find it there.

AudiNS-iPad-lgThe automakers and their agencies realized this immediately, that is why digital magazines like Volkswagen’s DAS (now gone) and others were among the first to be found inside the App Store following the launch of the iPad. Now other marketers are seeing the value of using the Newsstand to distribute their promotional material, and are doing so with more frequency.

North Hollywood Toyota for iPad is a new Newsstand app for the Southern California car dealership. The app is produced by R. Ready Productions, Inc of Charlotte, North Carolina. It is also the first Newsstand app to appear under the R.Ready developer name, which is how I stumbled upon it. Previous apps appeared under the account names of the dealership that of BlueToad, the platform Robert Ready is using to build these apps.

The digital magazine produced in these apps are similar to one another, and as they are to be used to promote business for the dealership are, of course, free of charge.

The dealers and the marketing firm take advantage of the existing customer email lists to gain readership. In addition, when a web reader lands on the dealership’s website when on the iPad, will be presented with an opportunity to download the app.

“What we do is send out an email to a customer,” Ready said, “and that customer, when they open the email on a laptop or a desktop, it’s a digital magazine version.”

Audi-NS-iPad-cars-lgAlthough based on a PDF, the apps include video and plenty of links to cars. In fact, when the digital magazine is viewed in landscape, the cover is accompanied by navigational buttons that will take the reader to the dealer’s website, location information, the service department, etc.

Using the Newsstand in this way is a creative alternative to the standard mobile or tablet app as there is a regularity to publications that one would not have simply with a standard business app. The reader is encouraged in the app to download an issue, but is really forced to subscribe, thus getting regular editions from the dealer (I now have a number of these apps that I will now have to go into iTunes in order to unsubscribe).

Local newspapers have been outsourcing their own app development, which means that most papers will not have the capability to produce these types of Newsstand apps for their dealer customers. Additionally, only a handful of newspapers have bothered to create classified advertising apps, let alone their own Newsstand app for their automotive sections.

At least one automotive marketer is out there selling the concept, and apparently with growing success.

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