Tips for Testing Magazine Lists

Catalogers often see below breakeven response when mailing magazine subscription lists, even when those magazines are tightly focused toward a cataloger’s customers. But you can increase response of a magazine subscriber list by selecting the direct-mail sold or direct-to-publisher subscribers.

Why does this select pull stronger response? Because the select eliminates the “dark side” of the magazine subscription business. Agent-sold subscriptions are typically deeply discounted, poorly qualified subscriptions that respond poorly to renewal efforts. A direct mail sold subscription is a much higher quality leads, one that might respond at five to 10 times the response rate of an agent-sold subscription. And the direct-mail sold readers will respond better to a catalog offer; these subscribers are more qualified to receive the magazine subscription and are more receptive to direct mail offers.

So don’t ignore the potential for profitably using magazine subscription lists. Just add a DMS/DTP select and you’ll get more of the subscribers most likely to respond to your catalog offer.

Jim Coogan is president of Santa Fe, NM-based consultancy Catalog Marketing Economics.

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