CASE STUDY: Regional telcos use magazine to assist moving experience

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Sponsors of MoveNow Magazine bank on the fact that one of the first items on a mover's "to do" list is: Change phone service.

At Pacific Bell, Southwestern Bell and U S West, when a customer calls to change phone service, it triggers the mailing of the custom-published magazine, which includes moving tips.

The regional telcos pay nothing for the sponsor positions of MoveNow but do place paid ads in the magazine. Also in the magazine are other ads and coupons from marketers trying to reach those who are moving into new homes.

MoveCentral, a Boston-based company that operates address programs for companies as well as a free change-of-address service at movecentral. com, has published MoveNow for the past 18 months. The company sent out 2 million copies of the magazine last year, trying to reach consumers either right before or right after they move.

MoveNow offers companies three marketing opportunities: Regional phone companies can build their brands by sponsoring the publication, companies can advertise services, or they can create coupons or checks for discounts on services.

"It's all discounts on stuff, and there's no sales pressure," said Rick Libby, MoveCentral president. "It's truly push marketing at its finest."

The discount checks included in MoveNow can be easily tracked because they're returned to the merchant and often include a total amount of what was spent on the purchase. A home products retailer saw a 2.5% response rate with a discount check that accounted for an average purchase of $68, Mr. Libby said.

MoveCentral also has tested different mailing plans to target recipients just before or right after a move.

"Pre-move is interesting if you can get mail to the person ahead of a move," Mr. Libby said, explaining that the two-thirds of movers who purchase new appliances often do so before the moving van arrives.

Sears, Roebuck & Co. placed four pages of ads, and multiple coupons, in thousands of copies of MoveNow last October and again early this year to target shoppers right before they moved into a new home.

"It's obvious that Sears is very interested in movers through different consumer lines such as appliance, lawn and garden, and home improvement," said Ed Keller, Kenmore brand director for the retail giant.

Mr. Keller hasn't yet analyzed the results of the ads and the coupons for paint, Craftsman tools, Kenmore appliances and floor covering to determine whether they lifted sales.

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