Nuts&Bolts: Fast Facts
Quarterly analysis of direct mail offers from magazine and newsletter publishers over the last two years exhibits a distinctive pattern of rising premium use from quarter to quarter within a year. But the last quarter of 2006 produced a small hiccup in this trend, with usage dropping a little more than two percentage points when compared to third-quarter penetration, according to the Who’s Mailing What! Archive, a direct mail research service offered by Target Marketing’s sister publication, Inside Direct Mail.
This slight drop-off also represents another change in pattern: Where 2006 premium usage levels for publishers consistently beat 2005 rates by at least four points, the rates from the last quarters of 2005 and 2006 are within about half a percentage point. With the heavy mail competition during the fourth quarter, it appears that publishers are hesitant to bring on subscribers who might only be interested in the premium.
As for the goodies publishers favor throughout the year, the Archive noted merchandise like shaving kits, jackets, pen and pencil sets, and maps from magazines like Men’s Vogue, Sports Illustrated, Fast Company and National Geographic; information-oriented newsletters, such as Bottom Line/Health, Oxford Club, Value Line and Kiplinger’s, prefer the tried-and-true information-based premiums of books and reports.