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Line Extensions to Generate Revenue

Profits are nice but sans new revenue, business dies

December 3, 2013 By Denny Hatch
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Many years ago I had lunch with Chuck Tannen, publisher of FOLIO: The Magazine of Magazine Management. I asked Chuck whether FOLIO was profitable.

"We have the Folio conference and exposition," he said. "Plus card decks, consulting contracts, books, advertising in the magazine and of course subscription revenue. Every time we acquire a new subscriber, it's my license to sell that that person whatever I can to help make his business grow. My aim is to surround the market."

Our Outlaw Past
In 1984, Peggy and I broke the law.

We sent out a dry test—a mailing offering a product that did not exist. What's more we could not possibly fulfill the offer within 30 days. This was a flat violation of the Federal Trade Commission's 30-Day Rule.

The product was the newsletter WHO'S MAILING WHAT! based on my giant archive of junk mail. The offer: one year (12 issues) for $99.

We spent $10,000 and sent out 10,000 mailings to two lists.

We brought in enough cash to do a roll-out mailing. The roll-out supplied us with enough cash to launch the publication.

WHO'S MAILING WHAT! Had Built-in Line Extensions
The Archive: In each monthly issue we listed roughly 1,500 mailings we received in the archive from friends, family and correspondents around the country. Readers who wanted to see these mailings could order black-and-white folding dummies for a fee. We made "paper dolls"—Peggy's moniker for the process of photocopying, cutting, folding and Scotch taping individual mailings and sending them out to subscribers who wanted to "steal smart." This brought us extra cash. Today the mailings (and emails) are available as PDFs.

The Directory of Major Mailers and What They Mail (now Major Mailers Online: Many suppliers to the direct mail industry want to know who these mailers are—names and addresses along with the brief descriptions of the actual mailings. These were purveyors of lists, printing, inserting and mailing services on the prowl for new customers. A side market: everybody in direct mail looking for a new job. Here is the mother lode of people who hire direct marketers, what they mail and who and where they are. The Directory of Major Mailers is still going today as MajorMailers.com.

 
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