Time Inc.’s Kimberly Miller on Acquisition Tactics
Another very exciting thing that rolled out just this January as our new control for Real Simple is a magalog. Real Simple has been around for seven years and is a pretty popular magazine, but most people don’t know what the magazine is about and haven’t heard of it—so our brand awareness is low in the market. In our direct mail, we have to go above and beyond in explaining the brand and showcasing examples of content that are in the magazine. Our control for a very long time was a polybag package, but we finally had a win after four years to a magalog.
EB: On the opposite side, what are some tactics that do not work to build a magazine’s audience?
KM: One thing that I’m finding, particularly on In Style, which is a very well-established brand: More isn’t better. A lot of things that we’ve tried that are promotional in nature—like a colored outer or a private sample sale-type package—just do not work. Consumers know what the magazine is; they’re very aware of competitive pricing and things like that. So straight vouchers with a solid deal, and a promise of a magazine and what its content is, tend to work best. That’s not always what you think about when you think of direct mail: You want to stand out in the mail, make sure your package gets noticed, but for a well-established brand, that’s not necessarily the case.
EB: Depending on the magazine, do you have to be careful with the type of discounts that you give?
KM: Yes, that’s a very slippery slope. You want to stay competitive in the market, and if you look at a magazine like In Style versus its competition, a lot of [the latter] is selling subs at $10 for a year; it’s hard to stay competitive with that. But if you consider yourself more of a luxury brand, you have to maintain your pricing. It’s one thing to give your consumers discounts for an additional term or for referring a new subscriber, but you don’t want to get into price wars because no one will win.