Circulation and Fulfillment Options
Publishers searching for partnerships in the circulation/fulfillment-solution sector of the industry will find that there are many options out there. But, like all things, no two solutions are created equal, so it’s important to prioritize your current and future needs, as well as your budget, before you begin shopping.
“You should have a clear definition of what you hope to achieve with a new business system,” says Dan Pellegrini, director of corporate marketing at Media Services Group, a software and service provider with headquarters in Stamford, Conn. “The typical life cycle of such a system is 5 to 10 years, so make sure you plan on plenty of room to grow.”
Pellegrini says, when evaluating vendors, publishers should look for industry savvy, a strong track record and cultural fit.
“Ideally you want a vendor who is always a couple steps ahead of you with industry trends and development,” he says. “When evaluating the software, make sure it not only solves your current problems, but also that it does not create any new ones by not supporting an important function or workflow.”
Solutions providers should enhance your business by building “connections,” says Glen Giles, director of new business development, Hallmark Data Systems, a circulation fulfillment provider in Skokie, Ill. “Look to the future and not just putting labels on magazines,” he says. “[Your provider should help you build] connections through a combination of traditional print, in-person and electronic channels.”
According to Dave Hendricks, senior vice president of sales and marketing for ARGI—a subscription fulfillment, database marketing and Web services solutions provider in Montvale, N.J.—audience knowledge may be the most important benefit/feature that can be provided by a subscription fulfillment vendor.
“There are very few single-title publishers in the market today, and many publishers are developing alternate revenue models that include trade shows, seminars, directories, data products and other non-print advertising revenue streams,” he says. “It is very difficult to manage all of these revenue streams—or even create them—without a single view of the customer across all of the databases holding the subscriber, member and/or purchaser data for these products.”