Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Advertising Age Needs to Catch Up a Bit

Recently one of the magazines I read, BtoB decided as of Jan 1 to stop printing and is going digital with Advertising Age, a magazine which I read as well. Ok, one less magazine to read.

adage goes old schoolI received my first issue yesterday and it was covered on the outside with a paper cardboard stock reminding me about the change and also including a renewal post card as you can see on the left.

Nothing unusual, naturally I should renew and start looking for the URL. Nope. None in site. As you can see from the photo on the right, I need to detach and return the postcard.

1980 called, they have jobs in the mail room.

No doubt this was a mistake by some editor or subscriptions house. The problem is it is compounded by including this on the side of the postcard "For faster service, call toll free 1-877....".

Wow, admittedly that would be faster than the USPS but this makes me wonder what else may be wrong at AdAge.

Turning the page over shows it is not any better as it states quite clearly, their CAPS not mine:
easier yes this way no
 "It couldn't be easier. Simply detach the EASY RENEWAL CARD NOW."
Truly not a great way to lead advertisers in this digital age. A sad case of "do as we say not as we do"? At least they asked you to write in your email address.

There are so many ways to accomplish the same benefit to the company and encourage renewals yet still use the magazine.

First, there is always space available in your own magazine and any space in the magazine could be used, why waste the the cardboard stock for renewals? It is not just the cost but also weighs more, which the USPS workers probably do not appreciate and is more landfill/recycling potential as well. Since there are many different levels of subscriptions, this may not be appropriate per se, however, subscription pricing is not the point of this post.

Second, nowhere on the front page of the magazine itself, yes, it is next to the postcard as shown above, is there a URL, not even a (and I hate these myself) QR code to let you know how to find them online. Presume a new reader finds the magazine without the cardboard cover, the URL is not even on every page of the magazine. Note to AdAge, speak to the BtoB team, they got all this right.

Third, if you have people's social media details, send them the URL via a tweet or whatever method. Sending via email these days may not get past the spam filter and also people delete emails faster than read them.

Fourth, presumably, or  maybe not, the iPad version of AdAge, would also be an easy way to renew. It has a link but I could not use it, probably because I have not sent in my postcard yet to renew.

So the USPS will charge them for all the postcards and mailings. The mail room or service needs to handle all the postcards, presuming none get lost or cut or wet during transit. The subscription database people or scanner has to be fed each postcard individually and get all of your details input correctly if you want to keep receiving the magazine.

Then what happens?

Do we receive emails that it was received and we are now subscribers? What about our social media efforts and accounts where we want you to let us know about the newest articles? The onus is on the individual because the magazine never thought out this whole process from the start.

I still will read AdAge and enjoy it and if you like the world of marketing and advertising you should as well. When working on social and collaboration projects with customers the first thing we want to do is find out what the outcome should be and then fill in the processes and systems to make it all happen so by the time we turn on the accounts or send out something we know how to track and measure everything. It may not be perfect from day one, but it avoids creating busy work for employees that already are very busy.