Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Response Meter

The Data to Cover All Your Bases

Whether you work in the business-to-business or consumer publishing and media world, having up-to-date demographic information on your subscribers and members is vital. The more information you have on a particular subscriber, the easier it is for circulators to effectively market to that person. And while it’s necessary to keep up with any changes to your subscriber database either internally or with the help of an outside fulfillment house, there are other databases that every company whether big or small, should also have in their stable.

The first is what is called a Reserve or Hold file. This file is composed of people that a publisher or CEO feels does not exactly fit the exact demographics of the magazine, website, or newsletter. The people in a Hold file could also be put there because the publisher does not want to exceed his or her rate base. The Hold file is an important file to have and to continually update because it gives a publisher or CEO a well to pull from in case the rate base is running low. It’s also a good source for audience developers to use, especially if their brands are in competitive markets and they are running low on key demographic stats that are important to their advertisers.

Any expires or subscribers that have cancelled or dropped their subscription should also be kept in a separate database and segmented for promotion at a later date. If you’re trying to meet rate base and have depleted your budget to purchase lists, an Expire list is a good source to have. Promotion to these names usually involves an incentive to get these former subscribers back into the fold. Some ideas include a percentage off an annual subscription or giving them a “special” issue or a number of issues for free.

And the last important database that every publishing or media company should have is a Pass-along database. These are the names of people that your current subscribers think would benefit from your company’s products, whether the product is a magazine, enewsletter, digital edition, an event, or a webcast. Pass-along names are important because they are usually the same, highly qualified, targeted colleagues of your current subscribers.

Now, more than ever, having highly targeted, up-to-date and integrated lists are a key to success. With the economy still struggling to right itself and a finite amount of advertiser dollars up for grabs, it’s vital for circulators to have as much demographic information as they can across all of the above lists. Name and address is great, but information like email address, phone number, title, etc. can help target Circulation promotions and also help Sales with lead generation programs.

- Hamilton Maher

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