If a customer has characteristics and data points that place her in various models for several titles, Meredith Corp. allows her to be promoted for multiple titles “as quickly as possible,” according to Ball. Timing is important, because when a consumer is in a buying frame of mind she is more likely to purchase more products, he says. While each magazine has its own selection parameters for prospecting, models based on prior success and the experience of the data analysis group assist decisionmaking for the entire group of magazines.
For example, if the company makes more money selling product B than product C when cross-selling to buyers of product A, it will sell product B even if product C is in some way aligned with product A, Ball explains. Otherwise, Meredith Corp. allows promotions to occur naturally as the different titles use analysis to identify potential prospects according to their own best-customer profile.
A Focus on Long-term Investments
As any investor knows, choosing stable mutual funds over riskier sector funds that may provide higher, short-term returns does not always achieve long-term goals. And neither does the reverse. Maximizing a portfolio requires continual balancing of both options to meet goals, which is the same theory behind Meredith Corp.’s direct marketing practices. Instead of creating a hierarchy for when magazine groups may prospect from the housefile, the company gives each group the discretion to promote according to a profitability model developed from insight gained by looking at what’s been the most successful across the groups.
Meredith Corp. looks beyond quarter-to-quarter results and focuses instead on investing capital in projects that achieve the best lasting returns. Ball says, “What sets this company apart is our willingness to put money where we will get the best returns over many years, the willingness to invest for the long term and not focus on short-term solutions.”