When Directness Pays Off
Many magazine publishers have been battling to increase subscriptions to help offset lost ad revenue and declining subscriber bases during the past two years. A major challenge for these publishers has been how to do that while faced with budget cuts, rising postal rates and paper prices. Not surprisingly, direct mail, which has long been most publishers' primary source of subscriber acquisition, dropped significantly in volume in 2009. However, this means of reaching potential readers was not long on the decline.
"Direct mail is still the most important source of subscriptions for most magazine publishers because it's also flexible, and it offers more volume potential than other sources," wrote Elaine Tyson—president of Tyson Associates, which for 28 years has provided circulation management services to more than 200 magazines—in a recent edition of Target Marketing magazine's e-newsletter, Target Marketing Tipline. "But, it's more expensive than ever so some things have changed as a result, particularly over the last year or so."
Tracking such changes is the Target Marketing Group's Who's Mailing What! Archive (WhosMailingWhat.com/trial/tm) and the Email Campaign Archive (EmailCampaignArchive.com), which collects and analyzes thousands of direct mail pieces and e-mail marketing campaigns annually. The "2010 Magazine Publishing Industry Sector Report," produced by DirectMarketingIQ (the Target Marketing Group's research arm; DirectMarketingIQ.com), tapped the extensive direct mail and e-mail archives to share direct marketing statistics and trends that magazine marketers should be aware of before kicking off their upcoming direct marketing campaigns.
Here are 8 key trends you should know:
1. Fewer magazines in the market mean fewer mail pieces.
That's reflected in the Who's Mailing What! Archive, in which total volume of mail dropped considerably from 2008 to 2009—and continued to drop early in 2010 before beginning to recover. Overall, there was a 26-percent decrease in the total number of magazine-related direct mail from '08 to'09, and then a projected (based on the first six months of 2010) decrease of 13 percent in 2010.