The more things change on Target Marketing's Top 50 Mailers list, the more they stay the same. As I write this, mail volume continues to plummet; the U.S. Postal Service reported a drop just shy of another billion pieces for the third quarter of its 2010 fiscal year. So with increasingly less First-Class and Standard Mail in circulation, what do consumers find in their mailboxes these days?
So House Beautiful and Popular Mechanics don’t have much in common other than their parent company, Hearst Magazines of New York, right? Well, no. As it turns out, readers of both magazines—as well as other Hearst titles, including Country Living and Good Housekeeping—are interested in being environmentally conscious if it’s affordable. So Hearst targeted each magazine’s subscribers in a six-part “Earth Month” e-mail campaign. Recipients responded by heading to Hearst’s TheDailyGreen.com in droves. There, House Beautiful readers could learn how to save on organic food while Popular Mechanics subscribers could research the “10 Most Fuel-Efficient 2008 Vehicles.” Meanwhile, the print magazine subscribers were helping drive traffic on the “green Web site for regular people” by clicking through and accounting for 25 percent of TheDailyGreen.com’s April 2008 traffic.
Magazine blow-ins—the little subscription cards that fall out of magazines—are very efficient in bringing in new subscribers. The reason is obvious. If a non-subscriber reads an article in a magazine and wishes to subscribe, the means to do so is at hand. All you do is fill in the postage-paid card and drop it in the mail. The magazine starts arriving, and you pay the bill. Blow-ins (and bind-ins) work. They are responsible for an average of 12 percent of new magazine subscriptions at a cost per order of $5 to $10—peanuts compared to a direct mail shot. Blow-ins also irritate people. Back in 1987, New
by Richard Goldsmith How would House Beautiful magazine look if it were printed on newsprint? Probably not that great; the colors would look kind of flat. The photographs would look fuzzy. It certainly wouldn't be something you'd want to keep on the coffee table, because frankly, it would look "cheap." How would your direct mail package look if it were printed on newsprint? It probably wouldn't arrive at all, because the paper would be torn to shreds by the mail sorting equipment. If it did arrive, it probably wouldn't make a very good impression, neither would your four-color brochure. Heavy coated paper just "prints