MB: How is ROI different than 30 years ago?
Japko: ROI is about leads. When I was selling in 1982, it was about leads but now it's a much more sophisticated process of generating those leads across multiple media in a trackable format on a 24/7 basis. And marketers don't care anymore how you get them those leads. It can be magazines, newsletters, Webcasts [or] e-newsletters. It doesn't matter, as long as leads are generated and trackable.
MB: What do you see as the future for circulators?
Japko: The circulators of tomorrow won't have to do one mailing, one e-mail blast, won't need one link on one Web site. They'll just go out and pick up an entire file for $3, $4, $5 a name because there's so much information out there about people.
That amount of information has changed the whole audience-development process. Audiences are more real and qualified and vibrant than ever before because you can track their response activity. Also, circulators are no longer developing files for some big-name auditor to come in and look at twice a year. They're creating integrated brand files across a variety of media, and each product has to have a very specific goal, development plan and profits in place. That makes things more difficult for the circulator.
MB: So circulators will need to spend more money to get that information about people?
Japko: Not necessarily. There are companies such as freebizmag.com that allow some circulators to say, "I'm not going to spend a dime until I see results.
-Mark J. Miller