Premium Watch: Publications Use Relevant Gifts
It's been a rough year for publications, including magazines and newsletters. With some closing their doors, others reducing frequency, and others simply slashing staff but trying to maintain the same output (and quality), you'd expect to see less expensive efforts in the mail and fewer premiums in those mailings.
You'd be half-correct. While more vouchers are being used today in order to save on cost, premium usage remains almost as high as it was over the past two years, hovering around 42 percent of publications' efforts, according to our Who's Mailing What! Archive. This month, you'll see that most publications use low-key but highly relevant premiums to boost renewals and acquisitions.
Garden Design magazine takes the two-window approach with a #10 outer for its renewal effort but uses an unusually small top window to showcase its name. No mention of the premium is made until you get inside, where the bamboo wind chime is mentioned on the reply form, in the letter and on a buckslip devoted to said premium, including a picture. We're used to seeing premiums that are barely related to the magazine, but the wind chime obviously works well with the readership. The buckslip copy says, "You will delight at the soothing melody in your garden as the gentle breezes stir the beautifully tuned aluminum tubes" (Archive code #710-641844-0905).
Another renewal effort comes from New York magazine, which calls attention to its 4-1/4" x 7-3/4" outer with a "Service Alert" yellow sticker. Like the Garden Design hybrid voucher package, this one, too, mentions the premium in three spaces, including getting the expanded treatment on the buckslip. The letter says "You get 2 FREE GUIDES with your payment — valuable guides created by our editors at New York," while the buckslip calls them "essential" guides and shows pictures of the covers of both guides. One is called "Where to Eat 2009" and the other "Best Cheap Eats"; both are standard metropolitan magazine cover stories that are annual big draws among readers, thus they may work well as premiums (Archive code #710-172010-0905).