1998 Direct Marketer of the Year - Jay Walker
Tannen calls Jay Walker the perfect partner. "He's more fun than anyone I have ever worked with," Tannen chuckles. "Jay is fun!"
The Phoenix Rises
A mutual friend suggested Walker get to know Time Inc. circulation wizard Michael Loeb (son of Fortune editor Marshall Loeb) and they met for an early dinner in Ridgefield, CT, that stretched to six hours. An extraordinary business was born.
NewSub Services: Success #5
The Premise. Walker 's current discourse on the state of magazine marketing:
The magazine business has the most inferior circulation model of any publishing category—a business that regularly takes its customers out once a year, points a gun at them and says, "If you don't pay me right now, I'm no longer shipping you any product." Renewal notices are a coping mechanism for a fatally flawed selling system. No other service in the world forces its customers to reevaluate its usefulness once a year and decide whether or not to continue. Newspapers would be out of business if this were the model.
In addition, according to Dan Capell, publisher of Capell's Circulation Report, the subscription agency business—as embodied by the sweepstakes-fueled Publishers Clearing House and American Family Publishers which are being roundly trashed by Congress and state attorneys general—is currently off by as much as 30 percent. Consultant Paul Goldberg says it's more like 50 to 60 percent. The result: Magazines cannot guarantee advertisers the promised circulation base—meaning they either have to pony up rebates to their advertisers, jump in the mail themselves with circulation offers or cut their rate bases.
The Walker-Loeb solution: Break this cycle of dependency on renewals and sweeps by offering continuous service tied to a credit card with the magazine being mailed until the subscriber cancels the subscription (known in direct marketing as "'til forbid").