Ogden Publications' Cherilyn Olmsted on Cutting Marketing Costs but Not ROMI
What seems to work for Mother Earth News is just the plain brown Kraft outer envelope.
So it's just interesting to see the different sizes and different colors and different things that attract potential customers. The organization of [Ogden's direct mail program] is pretty massive. We mail anywhere from 3 million to 5 million pieces a year—5 million probably on the top end, as we've cut back quite a bit. And so coordination of all the various test panels [is challenging]; we try to typically test about 20 percent of our mailing with each campaign that we do.
TM: How are you getting more efficient with your e-mail efforts?
CO: ... We just started doing this—we don't have a whole lot of data to go on for years and years—but we're breaking our e-mail lists down by source, so we can tell how [customers] came to us originally. Whether they came through as an active print subscriber and provided their e-mail address on a printed piece, or if they subscribed online, or if they came through an e-mail newsletter, or if they came through a sweepstakes. And so ... we can tell that typically our active print subscribers are our most engaged ... they're our customers who are buying the most and who are most open to receiving e-mails. We look at our clickthrough rates. We look at our open rates and obviously our response rates. ... Sweepstakes names tend to be our less engaged [subscribers], but they are still a good source for us so we don't want to discount them.
We're also working on, and this is still new to us, but we're testing this month different offers to our sweeps addresses than our active print subscribers, knowing that they respond differently. Originally, we just kind of grouped them together, and we realized, "Hey, hold on here. We need to evaluate how these people are responding differently and what kinds of offers we need to provide to them where they'll respond in a better manner." So we're trying to get them in that group that we call our highly engaged group, through our e-mail service provider.