Direct Mail Marketing Trends for Magazine Publishers
It's tempting to wring your hands and sniffle over the state of direct mail in the magazine publishing industry today — whether you work on the creative side or on the publishing side as a circulation/audience development executive. We're past the golden age in terms of pure creativity at any price as well as in volume mailed each year. No one can spend the kind of money developing a new package that was routinely spent even a few years ago. Flooding the mail with excess volume is out. That's gone, and it's not coming back.
I choose to focus on what can be done instead of what can't. What magazine publishers need to stress now — and the successful ones know this — is devoting money to the most efficient sources of subscriptions. Being as aggressive as possible with every subscription source including direct mail and emphasizing true cross-platform subscription acquisition programs for all their magazines.
Testing the possible in direct mail — a better offer, a more attractive price or new premium while developing enewsletters, webinars, events and websites that brand each magazine and help drive sales and profits. It's actually a pretty exciting time for direct mail and for magazine publishers. Print is not going away any time soon, and neither is direct mail. It's important to work with the attitude that no matter how good your direct mail program is, there is almost always a way to make it better through testing.
In the meantime, should you find yourself in need of inspiration therapy from Bill Jayme, Martin Conroy, Joan Throckmorton, Frank Johnson, Linda Wells or Hank Burnett — and many others — come visit me at my office. I'll make the coffee, you bring the donuts. I have file cabinets full of the best of the best magazine subscription packages ever written and designed. We'll take a trip down memory lane together, then we'll figure out how to sell more subscriptions by tweaking, downsizing and selectively testing the important elements that are known to affect direct mail response. We will also stubbornly refuse to go away.