Wenner Media’s Nicola Wodinger on Marketing Partnerships
The idea that working with the right marketing partners can help a mailer both gain entrée with new audiences and deliver added incentive for its existing base is gaining momentum within the direct mail community. To wit, over the last year, the Who’s Mailing What! Archive has seen a number of mailers, including Don Dion, Pitney Bowes and Kiplinger’s, kick their mail efforts up a notch by joining forces with other like-minded marketers.
Another indication that this trend is starting to catch on is the inclusion of both a session and a roundtable on the topic at the Direct Marketing Association’s 21st Annual Circulation Day this past February. Nicola Wodlinger, strategic partnership director for Wenner Media, which publishes Rolling Stone, US Weekly and Men’s Journal, led the conference’s roundtable discussion, and spoke with me recently about how mailers can make partnerships a viable component of their marketing program.
TG: What role do partnerships play in your marketing efforts?
NW: Partnerships are at the core of one of our consumer marketing missions at Wenner Media. My specific focus is on growing our subscriptions through marketing partnerships. We work with partners that reach the same demographics, or psychographics, and then we drill down further by applying other internally established benchmarks that make a good subscription partner. We have been doing this aggressively over the last few years and have been fortunate in establishing ourselves at the forefront of executing [Audit Bureau of Circulations] partnership programs in the publishing industry. Partnerships play an integral and complementary role with our other traditional circulation channels, such as insert cards, direct mail, and the Internet.
TG: How can a marketer find the right partners?
NW: Look at your magazine: the readership studies, the demographics that you are trying to expand, and your advertisers. Remember, advertisers have already done the research to find that you are the right partner for them, and it’s often a two-way street. For example, Rolling Stone is the American music magazine, so we aren’t looking to do a marketing partnership with someone that is outside of that endemic interest category. We look at people who reach music fans—the music fans we need to get in front of—and then we look at the volume that we can expect a program to yield. This is based on a combination of factors, including the way a partner can execute the program logistically: What’s the data-capturing mechanism? How much promotion are they going to put behind it?