Magazine article Marketing

Books' Premium Punch

Magazine article Marketing

Books' Premium Punch

Article excerpt

Publishing adds value to its products -- and boosts sales volume -- with gifts of increasing sophistication.

It is not always obvious just how big a user of premium merchandise the direct marketing publishing sector is. All the specialists in the field would readily point to names such as Reader's Digest, Time-Life International and Book Club Associates as the prime exponents of the use of premiums to recruit new members, build circulation and subscriptions; as a holding effort for series publications; and the capture as well as cross-selling of their databases and products.

How many households can honestly claim not to have received a premium from one of these companies? Indeed, many of the more frequently seen campaigns used in other areas such as financial direct marketing can be traced back to the big three publishing companies.

Premiums have been consistently used for many years in this industry. The publishers' market research allows forecasts to be made with some accuracy so that, taken in parallel with the publishers' use of database marketing, the net result is cost effectiveness and efficiency which produces results.

Additionally, the traditional fundamentals of "wantability" and cost-to-perceived-value ratio have been further developed using techniques such as collectibles and two-part offers. The former can produce quite extraordinary results in preventing fall-off during a series, and the latter, by clever utilisation of synergistic premiums, can turn the promotion into almost a compulsive purchase.

According to Allan Bradd of Reader's Digest, gifts work "because they can further dramatise and enhance the offer". This is echoed by BCA's Alan Paul, who suggests: "Premiums add to the value of the 'package'--eg a one-shot mailing of a quality gardening book plus free secateurs versus any other gardening book -- thereby encouraging commitment."

Interestingly too, the use of a premium can actually increase the ultimate print run for the title. Tests have proved that a book marketed at |pounds~4.95, but incorporating a giveaway costing as little as 5p in bulk, will outperform the identical book offered at |pounds~4.90 without gift.

A premium can be demonstrated by past results to increase the uptake of a book by around 50%. So a book costing |pounds~2.90 when 500,000 are printed and retailing at |pounds~4.90 without a premium, will uplift to 750,000 with premium, at 5p. This reduces the cost of the print run to |pounds~2.80 per copy which actually allows it to retail at |pounds~4. …

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