When it comes to subscriptions, direct mail will always be the publishing industry’s bread and butter. With so much riding on these acquisition packages, however, experimentation is limited (with voucher efforts still dominating) and repeat mail is frequent.
Overall, fewer publishing efforts were seen in the Who’s Mailing What! Archive this year, with 5.7 percent representing publishing mail through the month of May. In 2006, 6.7 percent of total mail was publishing, a contrast from 2005, when the number was 8.1 percent.
In 2007, repeat mail in this sector also was down, which indicates that publishers are going away from proven controls more than in previous years. Indeed, so far this year, 40.5 percent of publishing mail was repeated, versus a whopping 65.1 percent in 2006 and 58 percent in 2005. Since repeat mail is intrinsic to the publishing industry, it still represents a far greater percentage of total publishing mail, as only a little more than a quarter of all mail in 2007 was repeated.
Similarly, premiums rank low in the total mailstream, representing a mere 17.5 percent of total mail so far in 2007. In publishing, however, premiums remain a big deal, sitting at 43.5 percent in 2007 after being at 51.3 percent in 2006 and 46 percent in 2005.
Personalization and self-mailers, by contrast, maintain a far bigger presence in the general mainstream than in the publishing sector. Only 15.1 percent of publishing mail used personalization so far in 2007, while just 12.7 percent in 2006 and 15.2 percent in 2005 did so; compare this to 29.4 percent of total mail up to this point in 2007. And only 14 percent of publishing efforts were self-mailers at this point in 2007, after posting higher percentages the last couple of calendar years—17 percent in 2006 and 26.6 percent in 2005. Of course, with vouchers still looming large (along with more frequent magalogs), this figure lags well behind the strong self-mailer trend, as a staggering 52.6 percent of all mail thus far in 2007 were self-mailers.