Beating the Voucher Might Be a Snap
In the past four years, the Who's Mailing What! Archive has received snap-pack formats from
exactly six publishers: Kiplinger's, New York, ComputerWorld, InternetWeek, Transform and Crain's New York Business.
With the June 2004 mail drop, add LPI Media's Out magazine to this short list. Serving the gay and lesbian market, Out magazine has been testing a 41/4" x 81/4" snap-pack with the traditional white and black color scheme used by many of the first snap-packs ever mailed (202OUTMAG0604). Instead of carbon forms on the inside, however, the components of this more modern effort consist of a "Preferred Subscriber Rate" order form and a four-color, glossy buckslip that promotes a mini, portable digital radio premium with payment. A BRE makes up the back panel of the pack.
According to John Knoebel, president of Triangle Marketing Services, a full-service list firm in New York that specializes in the gay and lesbian market and that also handles marketing and circulation for LPI Media's publications, this snap-pack is not the only one that Out has tested recently; it also has tried its luck with a smaller version with a blue color scheme.
Of the two, the white snap-pack is pulling better results, says Knoebel, to the tune of twice the returns Out garners for its current control, a voucher format with the same $12 annual subscription rate and the same radio premium.
"Like many mailers, we've been concerned that the voucher may get soft," says Knoebel, explaining why Out is testing a snap-pack. Even if the new format didn't solidly beat the control, the magazine wanted at least to have something that works ready if response to the voucher heads south.
Considering the CPM for the snap-pack and the voucher are the same, Knoebel is encouraged by the initial
results for the snap-pack. In fact, both the voucher and snap-pack pull about an 85-percent rate of payment with order, which means the magazine doesn't have to invest much in its billing series, say Knoebel.
This has enabled Out to mail just three times a year, which gives it ample time to look at the results of its last campaign to best plan its next prospecting steps. "Before, we'd have to leapfrog our campaigns," he states.
While Knoebel likes the creative feel of a more upscale 6" x 9", full-color package with a glossy brochure, he says it's hard to "talk to your CFO with a straight face" when your publication is priced at $12.00 a year and you want to spend extra money on a snazzier format.
Since Out's target audience is very familiar with the publication, says Knoebel, the publication has the ability to leverage economical formats that put the emphasis on price.
For the moment, the winning format is a snap-pack. Could it be the start of a new era for this format?