Direct Mail Marketing Trends for Magazine Publishers

2. Most business-to-business publications eliminated direct mail from their source mix altogether
There is a big push away from direct mail for the simple reason that the cost per order has doubled for many business publishers over the last couple of years. The vast majority of B-to-B magazines are controlled circulation publications and that kind of acquisition cost doesn’t create a reasonable metric. As long as it’s less costly to acquire direct request circulation on the telephone or via email and websites, this won’t change.

3. Voucher packages are ubiquitous
Creative people hate this format for obvious reasons. The good news is there are some smart publishing companies that realize adding selling features to the voucher can vastly improve its longevity and response. Stripped down voucher efforts don’t work as well as they once did. There’s an opportunity here for publishers with voucher control packages to soup them up at a reasonable cost and sell more subscriptions at an acceptable cost per order.

4. Testing is teetering on the brink
Budget shrinkage accounts for some reluctance to test. Marketers who come out of print publishing know it’s important to test continuously. There is a lot of “tweaking” and package “downsizing” going on at the moment. Some new to the industry don’t really understand testing or its importance to successful direct mail campaigns, and that is alarming.

Currently, most direct mail packages in the publishing industry seem to be #10 formats — not as many 6″ x 9″ or larger packages are being developed as a direct result of budget cut backs. I’m also seeing more double postcards, triple postcards and oversize postcard formats. It’s good that magazine publishers realize the importance of being in the mail, but some need re-convincing that postcard formats don’t always work and require careful testing.

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