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Japko explains the ROI emphasis for circulators

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Adam Japko, president of PennWell Corp.'s Advanced Technology Division, says the key term for today's times is ROI. His keynote address at June's Circulation Management show focused on how this fact is forcing publishers to evaluate and change their way of operating. Here's what the ROI emphasis means for the circulator.

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

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