Now That’s Getting a Little Personal
Some of you (4,000 to be exact) received this issue personalized with your name on the cover, as well as in the ads on the inside front and back covers, and the outside back cover. I was excited to participate in this personalization project, as Publishing Executive has covered the use of variable data by magazines (Farm Journal, Reason magazine, among others) over the past few years, but it is a first for us to actually use it. The goal of the project, sponsored by Hewlett-Packard (HP) and managed by ad agency Broadford & Maloney Inc., was to more directly familiarize publishers with the potential of personalized magazine advertising (PMA) by showing it in action.
PMA enables publishers and editors to not only speak directly to each reader (potentially very helpful for renewal efforts, too), but also to offer value-added advertising to clients (at premium rates), including personalized inserts and cover ads, aiming to reach a geographically or demographically targeted portion of the circulation. For example, the 4,000 readers selected to receive the personalized issue of Publishing Executive were presidents, CEOs and publishers.
Other examples: Hearst’s Town & Country presents a ZIP-code selection of subscribers in the Upper East Side of Manhattan to high-end advertisers of jewelry/watches, according to Broadford & Maloney; and BusinessWeek provides a demographic selection of CIOs and IT executives to an advertiser selling business software and systems.
The value-add, of course, ideally comes in increased response rates for advertisers, According to Broadford & Maloney, VDP has the power to increase response rates two or three times.
For us, the process was surprisingly easy. A conference call involving all the key players (manufacturing, production, circulation, editorial, sales and reps from the printers) ran through the deadlines and the list-selection and coding process, including how the information should be supplied to the printer. In our case, the cover was printed at Finlay Printing in Connecticut on an HP Indigo press and shipped to RR Donnelley’s St. Louis plant (where the body of the magazine was printed) for binding. The cover form had to be finalized and shipped to Finlay several weeks ahead of our usual schedule to allow time for a test printing, the actual printing and shipping to Donnelley.