The Economist Tests Rich Media E-Mail With New Campaign

The Economist magazine began a rich media e-mail marketing campaign late yesterday in an effort to expand its subscriber base and alert consumers about the publication's redesign.

The e-mail ad, which was developed using software provided by Radical Communication, consists of:

· A streaming version of the magazine's new 60-second television ad.

· A free, four-issue trial offer followed by a one-year subscription modeled after a recent direct mail piece.

· A link to the Web site.

· A viral “send to one of your colleagues” component.

The ad also emphasizes the magazine's redesign with the tag line “Sharp new look. Same blunt views.” The magazine has been redesigned as completely full-color.

Consumers are able, through the e-mail, to sign up for the offer and a $49.90 subscription to the weekly magazine.

“In the past we have run text e-mails, which tested very poorly. The streaming video capabilities offered by Radical Communication allows us to feature our new ad and we can take advantage of the viral component, which provides us with a universe of e-mail names,” said Danielle DiMatteo, new business manager at the magazine.

The Economist deployed all of its domestic and global e-mails yesterday, including a rented list of 98,000 New York Times subscribers served by YesMail and an inhouse list of all 800,000 registered users served by 24/7 Media Europe, DiMatteo said.

The inhouse list consists of 515,000 international members, with the remaining in the United States. She said the international e-mails feature the 30-second version of the streaming ad and global consumers are linked to an online subscription center to sign up for the print or online subscription. The magazine will rent lists of new subscribers unless instructed otherwise by the consumer.

The Economist targets a readership of 75 percent males, with an average age of 47 and an annual household income of at least $150,000. “The New York Times high-end demographic matches ours,” DiMatteo said.

Radical Communication tracks a variety of campaign results, including the number of e-mails opened, duration of video viewing time, number of new subscribers and number of viral e-mails sent.

Radical Communication charges The Economist an undisclosed monthly fee based on the number of anticipated e-mails.

“We [Radical Communication] license them the software, and they develop the creative,” said Todd Klawin, vice president of sales at Radical Communication Inc., Marina Del Rey, CA.

Klawin said the 2-year-old company has licensed software to other large mainstream publishers, including Zagat, the regional dining guide. He said, however, that this is the first time a publisher has used both the streaming video and e-commerce features for an advertisement.

The e-mail offer expires in 60 days and is running simultaneously via direct mail, which was sent to 1.9 million consumers through inhouse and rented lists in early April and May.

The Economist plans to run a similar version of the e-mail ad on Yahoo, DiMatteo said, adding that it is too early to disclose specifics. She said the stand-alone streaming video is running on Yahoo Finance.

The company has not yet established marketing projections for the e-mail campaign, she said.

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