Renewing With a Basic Voucher
The magazine's audience is mostly boys, ages 7 to 13, and readers are very loyal and actively engaged with the brand. "They write us a ton of letters every month. They're very active on our website ... They're really engaged with the products," Kerner says. However, the challenge lies in marketing to both the readers and their parents. "The kids are the ultimate readers of the brand, but because of their age they're not the ones making the purchase so we have to speak both to kids and to parents," he says. In a renewal effort, including industry accolades and educational benefits drives the value of the subscription home for parents.
Kerner remains pleased with the results of this control package. "We evaluate every mailing in the series on a profitability basis, and this one is certainly profitable ... We have tested things against it in the past, and this has won," he says. While the mailing offers a URL, most of the response comes in via direct mail, and a high proportion of response is cash-with-order, using the enclosed postage-paid BRE.
Within the next few months, Kerner plans to test different creative against this package in an effort to lift response.
Know Your Audience
Consumer magazines have been hit hard during the economic downturn. John Kerner, vice president of consumer marketing for Sports Illustrated Kids, is keeping a close eye on the impact of the economy in his reader research, response and pay rates. However, he believes the magazine's educational focus on getting children to read may provide some immunity. "While certainly there's a lot of belt tightening going on ... spending on their kids is one of the last places [parents] want to cut ... especially when it's something that they view as educational," he says.