lenn Hansen travels more than 150,000 miles a year for his job as president-CEO of auditing firm BPA Worldwide. Everywhere he goes right now is looking pretty down.
Media Business: When will you start measuring e-mail newsletters?
We're wrestling with finding the most cost-effective way to do that. One problem is the distribution. We can tell the gross number that have been sent out and the bouncebacks. That's very easy to do, very cost-effective; but it doesn't tell advertisers anything about who the audience is. The challenge is being able to find a way to bring that into the loop at the same time that you do the circulation audit so you don't have to do two complete audits of the quality of the two databases. If the publisher has an integrated database, it's a much easier solution. If not, there is a lot of labor and cost involved. The publishers with integrated media solutions are the ones that will probably come out of all of this the strongest.
MB: What will be the biggest effects on audience marketing in the next 12 months that publishers should be looking for?
The most obvious is the unemployment rate and what that does to your readership. There is a level of churn that you have to keep up with. Otherwise, you're just killing trees for no reason. The maintenance of the file is even more critical than it was before. The challenge is media owners are looking to cut costs, and some are not looking to maintain the quality of their files. They seriously risk diluting what they're offering to the advertiser. They have to do it and communicate that they're doing it to their advertisers. I've read that some monthlies could become 10 times a year. That you might see. I would cut issues before I cut maintaining quality. —Mark J. Miller