Hallmark boosts rate base, warms hearts

Hallmark Magazine is adding 100,000 subscriptions to its rate base — for a total of 800,000 — for its February/March 2009 issue.


The increase, which doubles the magazine’s rate base at its launch in 2006, has been attributed to multiple cross-sell opportunities within the Hallmark company. Hallmark Magazine has been promoted in Hallmark Gold Crown stores and during Hallmark Hall of Fame movies on primetime television. The bimonthly has also been marketed through direct mail to the parent company’s 31 million-name database and outside lists.


“We’re really pulling all these different Hallmark assets into play when we’re growing circulation because Hallmark is such an iconic brand,” noted Carol Campbell Boggs, publisher of Hallmark Magazine. “Those internal assets are our core circulation growth strategy, but we also look to lists from other publications — Martha Stewart, Real Simple and Midwest Living — [which] have all performed well.”


Women in their mid-40s, with children, make up Hallmark Magazine‘s core audience. Average household income for readers is $80,000 a year. The magazine performs well in the Midwest — 39% of paid subscriptions come from the region — which differentiates it from the kind of women’s lifestyle title that normally excels on the East and West coasts.


Hallmark Magazine has relied heavily on direct mail for past marketing efforts, and Boggs said the magazine will increase its direct mailings and inserts in the future. It is also pursuing Internet orders, all with the goal of winning long-term subscribers.


A slight design tweak has also helped the magazine’s sales. Covers now feature object photos — strawberries in the summer, ornaments at Christmas — rather than models. With the switch, newsstand sales have increased 81% over the first half of the year. Subscriptions make up more than 90% of the magazine’s sales, but the newsstand sales serve as a barometer for the title’s health.

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