Nuts 'n Bolts -5-Minute Interview with John Squires, Time Inc.
By Paul Barbagallo
Target Marketing spent a few moments on the phone with this year's inductee into The Direct Marketing Association (The DMA) Circulation Hall of Fame, John Squires, executive vice president, Time Inc. Squires' responsibilities include overseeing Time Inc. consumer marketing, Time Inc. Interactive, and Entertainment Weekly magazine.
Target Marketing: In this tough economic climate, what is one thing circulation directors can do to maintain their circulation?
Squires: I think probably the area with the most opportunity right now is to look at the marketing flexibility that's been provided by the revision of the ABC rules that were put into effect a year ago. Combination selling with other products and other magazines is probably one of the quickest and easiest things publishers can do to add qualified volume to their files. The new ABC rules allow for greater pricing flexibility with respect to new business offers.
TM: What kind of importance do you place on testing in this economic climate?
Squires: When you face a situation where new business is severely constricted—with the absence of sweepstakes selling—I don't think you can incrementally crawl out of that kind of hole. To me, it's not about testing a blue order card versus a red order card. What you really need to test are new channels of sale. You have to be bold. You just can't tinker around the edges.
TM: Lapsed subscriptions can be a nagging reminder of how bad the economy is. What kind of messaging should marketers be presenting in their renewals?
Squires: The problem for magazines right now is a channel-of-sales kind of issue. I don't think it's driven by flagging consumer response because of economic issues. We're always looking for better ways to renew people. Frankly the best one we've found as of late is to push subscriptions into continuous service, to change the terms under which we sell our subscriptions, to change the contract we make with the consumer upfront.