Incentive marketing approaches for publishers

There is no question that newspaper and magazine publishers have been on a wild ride over the course of the last decade. The advent of digital publishing has forever changed the dynamics of content delivery, circulation growth and advertising sales. Both newspaper and magazine publishers have been challenged to find new ways to survive and thrive within this unpredictable and rapidly evolving landscape—this is no surprise to anyone who has been involved in the magazine and/or newspaper publishing industries in recent years.

Despite the changes within publishing, the longtime needs of obtaining new subscribers, engaging readers, encouraging renewals and creating successful advertiser programs have remained constant for many decades. How are publishers achieving these goals and addressing needs that have existed for a very long time within this changed environment?

Many publishers have ventured into the field of incentive marketing for new and creative ideas. The field of incentive marketing works to study and optimize desired customer response. In other words, incentive marketing works to discover new ways to encourage customers to take desired actions.

What are publishers working to motivate consumers to do and why? Given that a publication’s profitability is very directly tied to its subscriber base for both subscription and advertising revenue, incenting new subscriptions and seamless renewal of existing subscriptions is the logical place to start applying incentive marketing principles. Many publishers are also working to incent other behaviors, including advertiser program and research survey participation.

Discounts, sales and other monetary incentives seem to be a logical solution to incent desired behavior, but the field of incentive marketing has found that non-monetary incentives are more effective and provide greater benefit. Gift card incentives have been particularly successful for publishers due to their flexibility, program branding via gift cards from leading retailers and the effectiveness of gift cards themselves as an incentive. In addition, the act of gift card redemption extends the value and “share of customer mind” publishers capture via the program.

Our recently published paper, “Strategies, Decision Making Tools & Hacks for Publishers’ Incentive Marketing Programs” explores some of the strategies of incentive marketing, program approaches for publishers, the benefits of using gift cards as offers, formulas and other program decision making tools and ideas for incentive marketing program success.