Acing the Test
The staff of Inside Direct Mail recently got a sneak preview of two tests from E – The Environmental Magazine, a magalog and a 6˝ x 9˝ package. While both impressed some of us admittedly “green” editors, the magalog succeeded on many different levels as well, including format, copy, premium and offer (Archive code #202-431593-0704).
Apparently, it also worked for prospects. “The magalog was the clear winner,” confirms Greg Wolfe, president of the magazine’s South Norwalk, Conn.–based circulation management provider Circulation Specialists Inc., and who now expects to roll out the E – The Environmental Magazine magalog in September. Using lists from other magazines in the same category as well as from some nonprofits (the publication is categorized as a nonprofit), the campaign went out to 50,000 homes in two formats, each promoting a test price of either $10 or $19.95. “We got close to 3 percent with the $10 magalog, which is good for any magazine and, for this category, is excellent,” reveals Wolfe. Both packages beat the previous control, and the 12-page, 8˝ x 10-3/4˝ magalog clobbered the past effort four times over.
Although it previously had done as much as it could in-house or at a bargain, E – The Environmental Magazine was not having any luck with its direct mail, comments Wolfe. It first tested a couple of pieces—a statement-of-benefit voucher-type package and a double postcard with a survey—that didn’t require much creative expertise and had beaten controls for approximately 10 of Circulation Specialists’ past clients. Neither, however, were effective for E.
“The biggest departure was that we convinced the publisher, before giving up on direct mail, to invest in really excellent creative. So we went to Ken Schneider, who most people put on the top-five list of magazine direct mail writers in the country,” explains Wolfe. While Schneider came with a hefty price tag that the publisher was unaccustomed to paying, he also delivered a package that the publisher loved.