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Walsh sees digital editions as one-on-one opportunity

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Debbie Walsh, director of audience development at IDG's Bio-IT World, has two topics on her mind: digital and direct mail.

MB: What's the hardest thing about digital editions?

Walsh: Just keeping track of everything. Online is volatile, so almost quarterly you need to review your policies to make sure you're in compliance and that your subscribers still want it digitally.

MB: Will the digital world ever become stable?

Walsh: We'll be able to stabilize the environment as we become more attuned to each individual subscriber and their preferences. Are they reading it at home or at work, and what are the preferences of those individual computers? It's much more [about] one-on-one marketing.

MB: What's been the effect of increased postal costs?

Walsh: All of us are doing less and less direct mail as a form of acquisition. It's really a matter of economics. As circulation departments and budgets are reduced, we're forced to do more with less. E-mail and telemarketing have become the media of choice because they're quick to set up-and stop if necessary. However, the available universe for quality e-mail and telemarketing lists is very limited, and federal regulations and privacy preferences are diminishing the numbers even further.

MB: So what do you do?

Walsh: You're seeing more and more partnership campaigns where, instead of just going to a list broker and asking for a list, your postal marketing might be part of an integrated campaign that you do with a trade show, conference, membership organizations, Web sites, service vendors and publishers. For example, we barter our goods and services for ad space, lists, site traffic, research, magazine distribution, branding opportunities and new-product development. -Mark J. Miller

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