A Synergistic Approach
The base of subscribers to which Country Store could promote its products grew significantly in 2002 when Reader’s Digest bought Reiman Publications for $760 million, according to Phil Minix, senior vice president of catalog and tours marketing at Greendale, Wis.-based Reiman.
“The biggest asset we have as a cataloger is our free access to the Reiman Publications and Reader’s Digest databases,” says Jeff Stanislawski, director of marketing and analysis. “We take those names, send them to the catalog co-ops, and model them to see if they’re purchasing from catalogs in our categories: gifts, low-ticket housewares, apparel, etc.”
Country Store pulls 5 million to 6 million names from Reiman’s subscriber files each year and nets that down to a mailable quantity of about three-quarters of a million, according to Stanislawski’s calculations.
From the Reader’s Digest database, Country Store starts out with 7 million to 8 million names and ends up mailing 250,000 to 300,000. Minix explains that Country Store does the same sort of list processing with the Reader’s Digest database of names, but winds up taking the smaller cut of usable names. “We take fewer names to start, and also get a lower hit rate once they’ve been processed through Abacus or the other co-ops, which makes sense, because those subscribers are a little bit further away from our editorial mission.”
Minix continues, “After all of the modeling and selecting only the best names, we mail a million names a year from the subscriber file, out of the total 16 million pool [of both databases].”
Of course, adds Minix, everyone knows that magazine readers are not necessarily catalog buyers. “Here at Country Store, we’re fortunate to have that resource to go to. But to make the magazine lists effective, we have to model them using additional data from the catalog co-ops. That’s the only way we can make the magazine subscriber lists work effectively.”