Journal Tells Readers: Get Ready for Color

Dow Jones will break a direct marketing campaign next month to announce the most visible changes in 60 years to The Wall Street Journal.

The New York publisher will use direct mail, telemarketing, direct response television and online marketing. Brand advertising in newsmagazines and trade press will support.

“What we're doing in direct marketing is conveying that we've changed the Journal, here's why and to address the need that some of the customers have raised in terms of providing more personally relevant content and making the Journal easier to use,” said Tom Hetzel, South Brunswick, NJ-based vice president of circulation.

The changes are major for Dow Jones' 113-year-old flagship newspaper: Starting April 9, the Journal will use color for the first time on the front page and introduce a fourth section called Personal Journal. The new features aim to raise circulation. The new color front page, for example, is being touted for its ability to speed the readers to relevant news.

In another redesign meant to save readers' time, each section front will feature the contents of the inside pages. And columns on similar topics have been grouped more closely.

Direct mail is accounting for a major chunk of this spring push. The newspaper plans drops to two segments: one to current subscribers for retention, the other to lapsed subscribers for reactivation and to new prospects from rented lists that meet the criteria, especially younger people.

Roughly 1.5 million current subscribers will receive a product brochure and content guide around April 8 or 9. This mail piece encapsulates the changes made to the weekday financial broadsheet. Readers will learn that the Personal Journal section will appear Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. It will focus on what the Journal refers to as the “business of life” — issues individuals face after the workday is done and how to handle money.

The prospecting effort has the same tone as the retention mailing, but it notes the benefits of subscribing. About 10 million mailers will go out this spring. Recipients are urged to act soon for an introductory subscription offer.

Prospecting mail will gain support from the Journal's direct response TV spots and pop-up ads across a range of Web sites, including CBS, Edgar Direct and Motley Fool. Starting April 9, the TV spots will run on network shows including “60 Minutes,” “48 Hours,” “Family Law,” “CSI” and “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Ads also will run on cable channels like CNBC and VH1.

An ongoing telemarketing operation, smaller than the mail effort, will chip in. Telemarketing generates 10 percent of the orders.

To get in front of media buyers, Dow Jones has placed teaser ads in trade publications such as Advertising Age and Adweek and has sent a series of teaser mailers. These tongue-in-cheek postcards speculate on possible makeover options for the Journal. Supporting branding advertisements also run in The Economist, Time, Newsweek, Forbes, Fortune and U.S. News & World Report.

Direct marketing creative and execution were done inhouse. Goodby, Silverstein & Partners handled the overall branding campaign.

The Journal's makeover comes four months after Dow Jones redesigned its online edition at that involved 500,000 mailers and 1.5 million e-mails to names on rented lists.

Also, the print Journal changes also kick in four months after the newspaper began using new printing equipment. The enhancements at 17 U.S. printing sites cost more than $225 million over four years. Now, the newspaper can print up to 24 pages in color daily, three times its previous capacity.

Such printing enhancements affect advertising, too. Not only can the newspaper feature multiple-page color ads but also color ads of less than a full page.

Hetzel said the Journal does not intend to raise its ad rates this year. The focus with this direct effort is on retaining current readers and attracting new ones. Hetzel declined to say how much the effort costs.

According to filings with the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the Journal reported average paid circulation in the United States for the six months through Sept. 30 of 1.78 million, up 1 percent from the previous year.

“We're not targeting that increase in circulation per se, but we're trying to increase the reader loyalty with the product,” Hetzel said. “A lot of what we're doing in direct marketing, certainly in the retention area, is in line with that.”

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