Catalog marketers are wary of using magazine lists for prospecting since subscribers don’t have the inherent propensity to shop via direct. If your beliefs are in line with the previous statement, then you are most likely passing up a nice universe of prospects.
Generally, the more niche-oriented the magazine, the more successful it will be in catalog campaign. These files usually enable the cataloger to mail the name successfully without the need to identify mail order characteristics. But even a more generalized magazine can work if there’s enough of an interest or lifestyle affinity with your product.
Don’t give up on a magazine list if you test it and the results are marginal. That just means that you need to take your process to the next step and determine those mail order traits.
This may be as simple as running a generic optimization (or name matching) through your choice of cooperative databases, or it can be as complex as running batch optimization or custom optimization based upon your own house file.
Which route you choose will depend on how general the magazine is and how marginal the results were.
Magazine list owners usually won’t exchange names, so you will end up paying for what you get. That makes it hard to throw away anything not selected through optimization.
But your broker will be able to negotiate a net-net agreement for names that survive the optimization process, which makes it more fiscally palatable. Magazine lists are usually priced lower than catalog or Internet files and they often offer a reduced rate for catalogers. This helps to cover the additional cost that you incur with the optimization process.
The majority of magazine files on the market have a substantial subscription base, which can give you a nice universe of names to come back to again and again. So stop overlooking those subscription lists within your circulation plans and start taking advantage of the universes they have to offer.
Travis Seaton is a director with San Rafael, CA-based marketing consultancy Lenser.