Practicing What They Preach
Even 'special requests' involving fewer than 20 magazines are automated. "BusinessWeek was preparing labels by hand, individually affixing them to the magazine, and mailing them separately," Abram says. "We set it up so the label information is sent electronically to the printer, merged with the subscriber labels, then ink-jetted onto the magazine cover."
Eliminating the extensive manual handling produced savings in time and money. In addition, these special copies can now be integrated into larger mailings, presorted, and mailed to gain the maximum postal discounts.
Comp lists are another thorny aspect of special requests that the new software ironed out. Employees (publishers, editors, sales reps) rarely bothered to delete names and addresses that were no longer needed or were ineligible for comps.
The result: comp names might stay on the lists indefinitely, driving up printing and postage costs. Yet there was no simple way to identify why a particular comp name should or should not be on the list, making it risky for business managers to delete them.
Contrast that to BusinessWeek's new system, where every employee with comp privileges can sponsor a fixed number of names. If they want to add a new name and they've reached their maximum allocation, they must first delete another name. And when an employee leaves, their replacement is given their predecessor's comp list, and can add or delete names at will.
Masterson also sees editorial and production advantages gained from the ability to push later deadlines, and better accommodating breaking news and last-minute advertisers. And because the application resides on Pragmatix's servers, it can be accessed securely from anywhere in the world, via a Web browser.
The fact that the system is based on a remote managed server also makes it attractive, Pragmatix's Stevens says. The browser-based software doesn't have to be manually installed on every PC or Mac, and the Web-based user experience is intuitive, reducing training costs.