Leaders of the pack

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Audience development departments being tapped more to create lead-gen programs When it comes to lead-generation programs, audience developers, with their intimate knowledge of databases and the subscriber data that they contain, are ideally positioned. Jo Ann Binz, a circulation/audience- development specialist for consultant Quality Circulation Services, said circulators should start with the media company's own sales team. As a first step, Binz provides the advertising department with quarterly reports detailing companies on the subscription files. “[Advertising] will then identify good leads that they can target for promotion efforts,” she said. As for generating subscription leads, Binz works with both the sales and Web teams to track every contact with the media company's products. “Every touch point on the Web sites asks for a registration of some level, even if it is just an e-mail and a name,” she said. “Those are used for sub as well as advertising promotions.” Jane D. Giles, director of business development at fulfillment company Cambey & West, said that many of her audience-development-director customers are focused on lead generation this year, particularly through cross-promotion and the use of integrated databases. C&W pools prospects in one database by getting information from a variety of sources, among them periodicals, e-newsletters, webcasts, conferences and merchandise buyers. Once merged, the prospects are targeted and passed along to marketing. “The beauty is that any Web promotion can have the reply form prepopulated, making it easier to get, process and track responses,” Giles said. Giles said that white papers and free webinars are good for cross-promotion of other products, as well as for generating leads for a third party. “The ROI is wonderful,” Giles said. “Leads are uploaded back into the database, more data is appended for each record and thus the prospect pool expands.” Bobit Business Media has had some success using social media for lead generation. The company posted a survey from a partner on one of its publication's Facebook pages, with a free-gift drawing offer for all the entrants. “We posted it a few times and got a good response from it,” said Desiree Bennett, senior audience marketing manager at Bobit. Bennett also recommended adding one or two lead-generation questions at the tail end of telemarketing requalification efforts, and knows of a few publishers trying this. “Apparently, there has been some success,” she said. “We're naturally very protective of our circ files, so we haven't tried it yet; but we do have a potential candidate for a test this summer.” Circulation provider ProCirc has found free e-newsletters to be a good source of lead generation, said company President Cary Zel. “These e-newsletters act as a first step to build a relationship between the brand and the content and the consumer,” he said. “The e-newsletters alert readers to content in upcoming issues and new content on the Web site.” The e-mail list is then used to promote subscriptions. For paid titles, the same list is used to push gift subscriptions in the fourth quarter. Cambey & West's Giles also suggested asking for pass-along names from current subscribers. “[This] never loses popularity, by the way,” she said. “Today's technology makes it easier to solicit these.” For her part, Giles said she is relieved audience-development departments are finally getting more involved in lead generation. “After many frustrating years of manipulating assorted and often messy lists, the audience-development director has at last gotten the green light to integrate and is now able to devote that time to strategizing, extracting and promoting to targeted, unduplicated names.” M
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