IDG ad program mixes direct, print

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`As seen in your mailbox' offers classifieds in IDG titles to show direct response ROI

IDG List Services is testing a new sales concept it hopes will boost direct response return on investment for its marketing clients.

Demonstrating ROI has been an ongoing challenge for the list industry, and IDG said its new program meets that challenge. Dubbed "As Seen in Your Mailbox," the program integrates direct response print advertising with other direct response approaches, such as direct mail and e-mail.

The program is being offered exclusively to companies that rent IDG's ComputerWorld, Network World and InfoWorld lists for direct mail and e-mail campaigns.

Those customers will be given the opportunity to buy a listing in "As Seen in Your Mailbox," a back-of-the-book classified section in the magazines. The listing would be timed to run in conjunction with the advertiser's direct mail and e-mail efforts using IDG rental lists and would urge readers to watch for those promotions.

"It's a great, well-timed way to lift response through another media," said Deb Goldstein, president of IDG List Services. "It adds a level of anticipation from the buyer."

Rick Kasper, group VP-general manager of list competitor DM2, agreed, saying the program is appealing because it emphasizes a "marketing solution" approach to direct response rather than the single tactic of renting a list. "I love the idea because it demonstrates a true ability to integrate the marketing and not make it `one group does rental, one group does advertising,' " he said.

The classified section will include an alphabetical listing of participating advertisers, including the company name, phone number, Web address and 50 words of text. It can also feature the advertiser's logo and includes an icon to indicate whether the campaign being sent is direct mail or e-mail.

The listings appear once, and space in each of the three monthly magazines is sold separately. The price is $600 per magazine per listing, with an additional $100 to include a corporate logo.

The magazines have a combined circulation of 570,000. With pass-along readership, that audience is closer to 1.3 million, based on Intelliquest data.

Goldstein said the program is an effective way to get direct response people to try advertising. "A lightbulb went off, because I'm continually trying to create business and working with the IDG business units in order to get advertisers to try direct response," she said. "I thought, maybe I should try to go the other way and get direct response people to try advertising. For an additional $600, they can get another hit on the people they selected [for list rental] plus the total circulation of the readership and pass-along."

While the program was launched in June to the list broker community, no marketer had taken advantage of it as of late July. But Goldstein said she was close to signing up a few advertisers. "So far, I'm getting a lot of people who are saying, `That's really cool,"' Goldstein said. "My feeling is that by fall, I'm going to have buyers for this program. I'm close on a couple of people."

In order to promote the program to advertisers, Goldstein has been sending out e-mail marketing messages to her customers. The first was a teaser to generate interest. The subject line read, "If I Told You..." and the text was "...of a new way to boost response rates and ROI in direct response campaigns, you'd want to know about it. Wouldn't you?"

Goldstein's follow-up e-mail a week later, with the subject line "New Way to Boost Direct Response ROI from IDG List Services," described the program in detail. She said she will continue to promote the program via e-mail. M

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