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1000 Black Lines

:: digital coffee stains on the paper of the blogosphere ::

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Bind-in Cards

Ah, the sweet success of a 1.7% return on investment (RIO). Yes it does look a bit meager. In fact, it appears down right despicable. Most marketing directors would sing hallelujah if they could bring numbers like that to their CEO. The reality of marketing wisdom is that it is very rare for a magazine marketing campaign to bring in a 1% ROI. Predictably, best results for a business to consumer model is to campaign in July and December. The rest of the year you run short marketing campaigns to keep the circulation numbers from dipping too low. That's why those annoying little insert cards (sometimes referred to as bind-in cards or blow-in cards) are in every issue of a magazine. Insert cards represent that consistent brand awareness and subscription (or gift subscriptions) offer. These cards act as a supplement campaign and sometimes the only campaign. Further, because the bind-in cards are inserted into the periodical there is less cost involved in sustaining the marketing campaign. Here is a real world scenario:

- 3 million inserts printed at $30,000.
- 3000 people complete the subscription forms and return the card to the magazine's circulation department.
- Of the 3000 that respond, 30% don't send in the funds for their subscription leaving the magazine fewer new paying subscribers.
- And the ROI reveals the campaign brought in a gross revenue of $100,000.

I am leaving some details out intentionally. As a "thank you note" the circulation department supplies a year's worth of great reading material.

So the question is, am I a Marketing Communications Coordinator fronting as a Graphic Designer? Or am I a Graphic Designer pretending he knows something about marketing?

  1. Blogger mike | 10:27 AM, August 04, 2004 |  

    matt, you're an evil marketing genius

  2. Blogger 1000 black lines | 12:03 PM, August 05, 2004 |  

    I don't know if I'd call myself a "genius," but I could live with "evil marketing consultant." By the way, that will cost you $60 for advice ;)

  3. Blogger woody | 9:05 PM, August 10, 2004 |  

    I believe Catbert is the tradiional "evil genius." What do think about lying? Unless you are willing to lie regularly for gain, I would question whether you really want to get into the marketing part of the business.

    Of course, that's just one writer's opinion.

  4. Blogger 1000 black lines | 11:43 AM, August 12, 2004 |  

    I believe Pablo Picasso stated, "Art is a lie that makes us realize truth." As a designer and writer, my role is to tell a fictional story (either through good design or prose) that suggests a truth. As someone who also participates in marketing communications, I offer a creative package that informs a campaign participant about product A. If that participant agrees to the message (a card that suggests a product) and responds (or requests the product), then we have communicated. If, on the other hand, I sent them product B instead of product A (which is what they requested), then I would be guilty of false advertising. However, false advertising is not my intention nor goal.

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