The No. 1 Rule in B-to-B Audience Development
Publishers always have reserved the right to decide whether a subscriber qualifies to receive a trade magazine in print or a digital edition. That's all changed now.
Any publisher who thinks he still has the privilege to tell people they can receive a magazine based on qualification questions is dead wrong. It's simple: You don't qualify your readers any more, they qualify you!
Check out this recent thread from a LinkedIn Group regarding one of our publications.
"My interest is in the perception that although [six people] qualified they are not able to obtain subscriptions.
I personally perceive [your publication and others] to be readily available free of charge. Obviously from this thread, others disagree, some rather vehemently.
If this is the current perception, any tightening of complimentary subscription qualifications (as appears to be the case with all print publications) will make matters worse."
People who want to receive your magazine should get it the way they want to receive it. Readers who want print should get print regardless of whether or not they answer qualification questions the way you want them to.
Magazine publishers continue to look for ways to lower costs while they re-invent how they distribute content. Reducing production and postage costs is a no-brainer, but sending a digital edition to subscribers who for years received print without asking them is a mistake. The same could be said for subscribers who want to read your content on your Web site. Let them do it without any registration barriers.
Give readers what they want and not what you want to give them. I've said it before, their loyalty has never been more important to your success and livelihood.