Useful, accessible information on circulation and audience development for magazine publishing professionals.

Sept 23rd 2016

is the 267 day of the year and there are 99 days remaining until the end of the year.


Shortlisted Labour candidates will learn later who has been selected to replace the murdered MP Jo Cox.

Warplanes launch some of the heaviest air strikes yet on rebel-held areas of Aleppo.

Britain saw a record number of foreign visitors in July while spending by British tourists abroad fell for the first time in more than a year, according to the first figures since the country voted to leave the European Union.

The FBI has told Sky News it is gathering information into an alleged incident on an aircraft carrying Brad Pitt and his children.

French-born actor Gerard Depardieu has claimed that his home country is at risk of descending into a theme park of stereotypes designed to draw in tourists.

A poet whose work explores the casual racism in the United States toward African-Americans is among the 23 winners of $625,000 "genius grants," the U.S. organization awarding them said on Thursday.

A teenager was robbed, held down and raped by a man and two women in Manchester, U.K. city centre, police say.

Beachgoers in the UK are being warned to be careful following sightings of the potentially fatal Portuguese man-of-war.

Betty Shelby, a police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man has been charged with first-degree manslaughter, prosecutors say.

1215 – Kublai Khan, Mongolian emperor (d. 1294)
1759 – Marie Clotilde of France (d. 1802)
1781 – Princess Juliane of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (d. 1860)
1865 – Pekka Halonen, Finnish painter (d. 1933)
1900 – Bill Stone, English soldier (d. 2009)
1907 – Herbert Kappler, German SS officer (d. 1978)
1930 – Colin Blakely, Northern Irish actor (d. 1987)
1930 – Ray Charles, American singer-songwriter,
pianist, and actor (d. 2004)
1936 – Sylvain Saudan, Swiss skier
1939 – Henry Blofeld, English cricketer and journalist
1939 – Sonny Vaccaro, American businessman
1947 – Mary Kay Place, American actress
1947 – Neal Smith, American drummer and songwriter
1949 – Bruce Springsteen, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
1956 – Paolo Rossi, Italian footballer
1957 – Rosalind Chao, American actress
1968 – Yvette Fielding, English actress and producer
1968 – Adam Price, Welsh politician
1977 – Brett Prebble, Australian jockey

2013 – Ruth Patrick, American botanist and immunologist (b. 1907)
2006 – Etta Baker, American singer and guitarist (b. 1913)
1997 – Natalie Savage Carlson, American author (b. 1906)
1979 – Catherine Lacey, English actress (b. 1904)
1535 – Catherine of Saxe-Lauenburg (b. 1513)
1193 – Robert de Sablé, French knight

1641 – The Merchant Royal, carrying a treasure of over 100,000 pounds of gold (worth over £1 billion today), is lost at sea off Land's End.

1868 – Grito de Lares ("Lares Revolt") occurs in Puerto Rico against Spanish rule.

1932 – The Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd is renamed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

1936 – First ascent of Siniolchu by a German team.

1962 – The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts opens in New York City.

1973 – Juan Perón returns to power in Argentina.

1983 – Gulf Air Flight 771 is destroyed by a bomb, killing all 117 people on board.

1999 – NASA announces that it has lost contact with the Mars Climate Orbiter.

2004 – Over 3,000 people die in Haiti after Hurricane Jeanne produces massive flooding and mudslides.

2008 – Kauhajoki school shooting: Matti Saari kills ten people before committing suicide.

The Good Old Days.
Click here to read.

For previous 'Straight Talk' articles, click here.

Day 267 of 366: Celebrate Bisexuality Day.
'Time Inc. UK has unveiled major plans to support digital growth' reports Digital Director Neil Robinson is to be in charge of a new consolidated digital operation that covers strategy as well as 'brand, product and audience development.' For more, click here.

'Facebook has admitted inflating the average time people spend watching videos' reports Jasper Jackson at The Guardian. Apparently it failed to include people who 'watched for less than 3 seconds.' Now if you don't think this is a big deal then Mr. Jackson points out that 'that this could have inflated average viewing time by between 60% and 80%.' For more, click here.
Comedian Seann Walsh busts common myths about
The Big Issue in new campaign.
People hustles Brangelina issue to print days before deadline.

Day 266 of 366: World Car-Free Day.
Looks like there was a lot of mingling at the MCMA meeting in New York on Tuesday. Sadly circspot staff were trapped in a car that was itself trapped in traffic on the Garden State Parkway so was unable to attend. The next meeting is a lunch meeting with Robert Sacks as the speaker on October 19th so we shall set out extra early to make sure of a seat.

Try Not to Laugh When You
Read These Headlines.

'The world’s first weekly technology newspaper... today celebrates its 50th anniversary' scribes Dominic Ponsford at Press Gazette.
Says Mr. Ponsford 'The London-based title has outlasted various online and print competitors and successfully navigated the switch from print to digital-only publication five years ago' which firmly suggests the magazine practiced what it preached. For more, click here.

Day 265 of 366: International Day of Peace (International).

Day 263 of 366: International Talk Like a Pirate Day.
'The PPA has welcomed a proposal by the European Commission to recognize publishers as rights holders in EU copyright law' says 'The move seeks to provide legal protection for publishers, safeguarding the return on their investment in the creation of professional content.'

Owen Meredith at the PPA said "The proposals announced by the European Commission are a welcome addition to the EU copyright regime, stating in law that publishers are rights holders, as contracts assert in the U.K."

How the U.K. leaving the European Union will affect U.K. publishers and authors is not clear, nor we fear will it be so for some time. For more, click here.

DUMB IS NOT WHAT IS WANTED... least at The New Yorker; which is good news for anyone capable of stringing together more than 140 characters. Lucia Moses at spoke with The New Yorker's editor-in-chief, David Remnick and 'talked about the publication’s need to experiment without cutting corners, how BuzzFeed is like The New Yorker and what’s hard about radio.' To read the interview, click here.

The new editor-in-chief at of Men's Health Magazine is Matt Bean who in returning to Rodale after having moved to Time Inc. a few years ago to head up the digital operations at a sporting magazine. But says Keith J. Kelly at the New York Post, Mr. Bean 'may find plenty of unrest in his new job' and for more on that, click here.
'Martha Stewart is teaming up with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba' reports Casey Hall at WWD 'for an event in Shanghai. Martha, queen of the ponchos and exquisitely sifted flour is in collaboration with Alibaba, but notes Ms. Hall 'Alibaba has yet to communicate what this future partnership might entail.' For more, click here.

Enough to make fiction editor Nick Mount resign, that's what. Mr. Mount announced his resignation by email at the end of last week and said he had resigned because 'The Walrus’s management expressed “obscenity concerns” about publishing the words “crap” and “orgasm” in a work of fiction planned for an upcoming issue' reports Justin Giovannetti at the Globe and Mail.

Apparently the publisher wants more family-friendly fiction and it seems to have stemmed from an article published earlier this year when a 'story dealt with bestiality and described a man having sex with a boreal owl' which must have been a hoot - sorry. For more, click here and we apologize if any owls were offended in reading this report.
Bauer Media
Petra Gasser
'The Sunday Times’s Style magazine has published the most advertising-packed edition in its 20-year history' writes Dominic Ponsford at Press Gazette in the U.K. 184 perfect bound pages for the latest issue which surprise, surprise was a special fashion issue which 'featured advertising from Balenciaga, Burberry, Paul Smith, Versace, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada and Dior. According to The Sunday Times, it is also the highest revenue issue of the title it has ever published.'

The cover was graced by actress Jane Fonda, daughter of Henry and sister of Peter who 'at 78 years young... is an icon for women around the world' says Style editor Jackie Annesley. For more of Mr. Ponsford's article, click here.

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Content marketing specialists know there is a great return on investments especially when teamed up with a quality telemarketing... Ronen Ben-Dror explores some options. Click here to read.

Native advertising is here to stay, probably. It is a good thing, possibly. So why can't Glen Martin decide whether he likes native or not? Click here to read.

We act as if “native advertising” is something new, so what is it and how should we best use it... an introduction to "native advertising!" Click here to read.

Just how safe is your data? With so much data held by publishers, could it be "hacked?" Elaine Tyson and Roy Beagley asked the people that know, the fulfillment bureaus themselves. Click here to read.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau found that more than a third of web traffic is fraudulent and BPA says only 40% of ads measured are actually viewable, but how much of a problem is this? Click here to read more....

Telemarketers are well aware of the Personal Identifier Question and recent changes in rules regarding the PIQ have caused somewhat of a debate in the industry. Ronen Ben-Dror of Blue Valley Telemarketing takes a look at what gives. Click here to read more....

Customers of telemarketing services often commission work without undertaking even the most elementary checks. What should the informed customer look for when choosing an outbound telemarketing agency? Click here to read,

Publishers need to address the USPS's suggested increase before it is too late. Click here to read,

Social media channels today are playing an interesting role in the future and the publishing world now views social media as a positive exchange with subscribers, so To Tweet or Not to Tweet, That Tis the Question Click here to read more....

How Well Do You Know Your Audience? The more you know, says Ronen Ben-Dror, this could eliminate the battle of qualifying leads. Click here to read more....

When executing a direct mail program, you should give lots of thought to the requirements of merge/purge. This could end up saving you a great deal of money, not forgetting making your life a great deal easier. Karen Tyson explains...

5 Mistakes You Should Avoid When Planning Your Audience Development Efforts by Kinjal Husges. Click here to read more....

To develop a realistic circulation forecast based upon current economic, industry, and company conditions is part of any circulation director's job. Benefit from the accountant's view and read Peter Sangiorgio's 5 Simple Tips to consider when developing a Circulation Budget. Click here for Peter's insight.

Businesses that put their customers front and center will ultimately win and the secret to successfully scaling CRM practices into any large organization is to really understand your markets. Benefit from Pam's years of experience and learn how to segment your file and become a success. Click here for Pam's insight.

Sending out a direct mail campaign requires a good lettershop operation... Karen Tyson explains....

For years the concept of earning and deferring income has confused many, but it is not that difficult. Get the facts behind earned and deferred income from Peter Sangiorgio. Click here to read more....

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Cash flow is probably the most important resource any business has. Benefit from Peter's insight and knowledge. Click here to read this exclusive article.

Circulation can be an asset on a sales call. Peter Lenahan explains what to do, and as importantly not what to do in this exclusive article. Click here!

How to manage a telemarketing campaign and make it work for you. Karen Tyson explains....

While all major publishers maintain marketing databases, it is just as important for small publishers too. Pam would argue it’s more important than ever to maintain a database as a tool for identifying, developing and implementing strategy. Click here!

Getting a direct mail package printed takes advance planning. Karen Tyson has some thoughts and ideas as to how to make this sometimes daunting prospect easier to handle... Karen Tyson explains....

Rebecca Sterner is one of the most respected people in the audience development job function. Now you can benefit from Rebecca's knowledge on Setting Up an Auto Renewal Program. Click here.

Enjoy and benefit from this exclusive article for written by Peter Lenahan who explains why the circulation staff keep the sales force motivated, and how that benefits all concerned. Click here!

Reader's response: One of most intelligent articles I have ever read on ad sales and the all-important relationship with circulation. Well said. Harry S, Sacramento, Calif - via email.

Free magazines are different from "Controlled" as we all know, but the distinction is becoming less and less relevant to advertisers. Click here!

Evaluating how a campaign is working while agents are in the process of communicating with current or potential clients, live monitoring is an essential tool. Can companies afford to waste all those efforts on a careless approach to monitoring the campaign? Of course not. Click here to read more....

An accurate call list is an extremely important aspect in waging a successful telemarketing campaign. Scrubbing the list is the responsibility of the publishing company and the telemarketing agency. Click here to read more....

Virtually all marketing campaigns are most successful when they employ a multi-channel approach to a targeted audience... even in the "all-digital" world. Click here to read more....

On October 16th last year, a new regulation from the FCC went into effect. Ronen Ben-Dror asks how does the FCC rule affect you in the B2B environment? Click here to read more....



WWD does good email subscription promotions.  This one is hard to resist.  It’s got a good subject line – “URGENT:  Prices Going up in July.  Lock in Lower Rate Today”.  The email subject line is just like envelope teaser copy – it has to pull prospects into the promotion and this one accomplishes the mission.

The copy and design is clean, colorful and loaded with benefits – the biggest of course is “Beat the prince increase!  Last chance for Current Rate”.

And, if you order with this offer, you can also save 20% on the 6 month online access price and pay only $59.  It looks as if this might actually be a last chance.  And, it’s always good to think a last chance offer might actually be a last chance for something.  This offer was overused in mail efforts – but you don’t see it as often in email. The offer is used to good effect here.

There’s a prominent Subscribe button to make ordering easy.  Following that is a picture of the web site and arrows that call out the features of the site.  Clearly, WWD offers a lot for the money.  And as subscription promotions are all about the offer, this is a winner. To see a larger version of the offer, click here.

This TV Guide gift effort is colorful and loaded with smart ideas – a two for one offer, special donor renewal price, holiday gift cards, multiple premiums and a reply-by date to move prospects along.

This is a very good email offer for a subscription to the print edition of WWD.  There is a lot to recommend the creative.  First, the email looks the way you expect WWD to look – smart, elegant and intriguing.

Second, the copy is filled with proven direct marketing technique.  The headline says “Summer Special for Industry Insiders” and that’s an appeal to the recipient’s ego.  It’s very flattering to be considered an industry insider and to be recognized as such by an industry leader such as WWD is even more appealing.  If done correctly, flattering prospects is a smart move.

There is a very strong subscription offer being made and the email leads with that offer – a 34% price saving on a six month subscription.  Offers drive promotions and it’s important as a marketer to remember that fact. 

You can’t miss the call to action – a GET IT NOW button to order coupled with a prominent respond by date.  This technique generally moves prospects along to order as it creates a fear of missing out.  Direct marketers have used reply by dates for years and years in mailed offers.

There are also benefits offered in addition to the special subscription price – more content, a new, bolder look and “extras” such as daily email of top stories and three issues of Beauty Inc.

This email offer uses smart direct marketing technique developed through many years of print campaign testing and marries it to the immediacy of email.  It’s difficult to ask for more.

We recently received an interesting direct mail package offering a subscription to House Beautiful magazine.  It’s interesting for a number of reasons. Click on the picture below for more details.
The New York Times wants me back - nice. An outer envelope that perforates on the right, left and top which then revels a single order form and a postage paid reply envelope (not shown.) It is an interesting offer '50% off for 16 weeks' - the 50% off I understand, but the 16 weeks has me a tad confused... more than a quarter, less than a half and not quite a third. If it was intended to get me thinking, it did.

I can get all the digital elements my little heart desires and access to Ordering is made easy, I can phone, go online even use the USPS and try and reduce their losses.

Sadly, the reason I canceled my subscription weighs heavier on my mind as does the all-singing, all dancing offer I received, so for the moment NYT - thanks, but no thanks. To enlarge the image on the left, click on the image.
We recently received the regular offer from Opera News and this offer, like our old nanny Mary Poppins is practically perfect in every way. '3 Risk-Free Issues' always a vote grabber, a free gift offer of a CD, an involvement device, savings of 68%, and a reply by instruction. We may have died and gone to heaven!

Inside, or the reverse depending on your point of view, 'Free' is mentioned not once, nor twice but four times in as many paragraphs and an excellent re-stating of what we are going to get, or not if we don't reply in ten days. The Free issues are even restated on the reply card. Whoever wrote and designed this should be sent a bag of onions, because they sure as hell know them. It looks good, does all the right things and Opera News mail it regularly, so we can conclude that it works for them. (Click here or on the thumbnail to view larger image.

We received our monthly renewal offer from TV Guide this week, and it does all the right things and looks good, and makes ordering very simple. As with many publications the actual renewal date is not mentioned, something which annoys me as a subscriber, but pleases me as a marketer - can you tell I am a Gemini? IF you click on the image above, you can see what happens at the ordering stage, although this is made as simple as possible. Interestingly, for an online order form, and a renewal form at that, TV Guide offers a Bill Me option.
Here's a good offer from Oracle Magazine for a qualified controlled publication. It has good benefits copy and makes requesting Oracle Magazine easy with a couple of "Subscribe Now" buttons.  There is interesting PS copy offering a new publication for those who might be interested in Java Magazine as well as Oracle. The design is clean, uncluttered and attractive. To view the offer, click here. Not sure why the publisher is only offering six free issues, but given the quality of the promotion there must be a very good reason.

Here is the latest offering from People magazine. Nice personalized outer envelope, and a simple and concise brochure showing good covers and copy that sells the subscription. To order, it's old school, snail mail - no mention of ordering via the web anywhere. Nice package and well done to People for knowing that direct mail via the post office is still a good way to get orders.

Click on the image to see large versions.
Here’s what appears to be an advance renewal offer from Vegetarian Times.  It’s a renewal sweeps – smart idea because the original sub order was placed through PCH.  We’re assuming it’s an advance renewal as only one copy of the subscription has been received thus far.  The offer is a strong one –a 78% saving on the renewal plus a chance to win $25,000 (along with other prizes).  Package includes clever “sweeps” techniques on the outer envelope, an offer deadline and small flyer detailing prizes.  Good job, Vegetarian Times!

Click on the image to see large versions.
We received this double postcard from GQ magazine. The card looks great, has a nice cover and a nice free gift, but also has a rather confusing offer. '24 issues of GQ for only $20.00 - that's 83c (plus 17 cents shipping and handling) per issue; in other words $24.00 then. If you add 83 cents to 17 cents, you get $1.00 which if you then multiply by 24 issues you get $24.00. Click on the image to see large versions.
When my subscription of 'The Week' arrived last week, inside the envelope was an offer for 12 issues of 'The Oldie' magazine. As far as I am aware these magazines are independent of each other, but have a great deal in common.

This is a nice way of promoting a magazine that is probably already known to readers of another magazine and would be fairly cheap to produce and execute. Nice offer. Click on the image for a larger view of the outside and inside.
Always nice to get something from 'The Economist' as they always do things so well.

A free copy of 'The World in 2013' is a nice incentive for the readers among us, and a free tablet cover for the tecchies to boot - which also indirectly pushes the digital version.

The predominant red is great as it screamed "ECONOMIST" as soon as I opened my email. Oh and 69c a copy, they got me! [Click here or on image for large version].
'People' really knows how to use it's house file. Good offer, nice creative and use of personalization.

The offer is strong and the order form is pre-populated - what's not to love?
(Click on the image to see larger size and also the order form page.

This is an interesting offer. On the one hand it pushes newsstand sales, you can save $1.00 if you print out the coupon. However if you clicked on the Save $1.00 link you can also subscribe and get eight issues free.

An offer is an offer,
even though this offer
is not publishing related,
it has ignored basic
promotion rule 1-0-1:
Know Thy Prospect!


To view larger size, click on the above image.

A recent offer from People magazine. It looks simple but a great deal of thought has gone into this offer, not least the cover featured on the tablets.

To view larger size, click on the above image.
Let's state it up front - we know the email at the end of the link is spam. Even so, it is a great example of why some design is a good thing in email promotions - even text only promotions. We cannot believe anyone who got this email would even have got so far a clicking a link! Click here to see the email, which is a screen shot taken from our computer.

Rebecca Sterner wrote on CircSpot on how to set up an autorenewal. It just so happens that today we received our auto renewal for Time. In all honesty we had not planned to renew it, but it is done, and although we could cancel it, $81.00 for 56 issues is not worth the hassle of canceling, so we guess the auto renewal worked... at least in our case.

To view larger size, click on the above image.
A reader looked for something on the Times of London web site, and this popped up while the page they wanted to view was loading. He liked it, took a picture, and sent it to us - thanks Glyn C-R of Buckinghamshire.

To view larger size, click on the above image.

A reader subscribed to Fast Company and paid $10.00 for a subscription. After placing the order, they received an email offering a $5.00 credit if she can get another person to subscribe in the next 6 hours. This seemed like a very clever idea to the the person who sent us the information - and we agree.

To view larger size, click on the above image.

Here's a nice promotion from The Nation.  It's quick to read, offers an invitation to receive exclusive free offers - it's a flattering offer and comes from a credible publication.

It ultimately leads you to a subscription landing page offering 4 free issues (very strong offer) plus attractive subscription prices and a choice of format - print or online access.
The promotion is clean and uncluttered with enough enticing benefits to attract readership.

Click on the image above for a larger version.