Time Magazines Europe Ltd., London-based publisher of the edition of Time Magazine that serves Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.

Latcham Direct Ltd., based in Bristol, UK, offers a wide range of services including integrated digital printing, data processing, email and multi-channel communications.

Grow subscriber base while improving and enhancing the traditional direct mail subscription process.

Conduct a cross-media campaign comprised of a direct mail package and a PURL that allows recipients to subscribe online.

30 per cent responding online, enhanced user experience, time and cost savings due to elimination of manual processing and quicker receipt of revenue.

Latcham Direct’s Cross-Media Campaign Boosts Subscription Response Rates for Time Magazines Europe

London-based Time Magazines Europe Ltd. is publisher of the EMEA edition of Time Magazine, the largest weekly news magazine in the world. For over
20 years, Time Magazines Europe Ltd has mailed approximately 3 million prospects per year across the region with their compelling subscription offers, relying upon the expert help of suppliers such as the UK based Latcham Direct Ltd. – specialists in digital printing, data processing, email and multi-channel communications – to continuously improve the effectiveness of their direct mail campaigns.

In 2011, Time Magazines Europe asked for Latcham Direct’s assistance in enhancing their subscription process because they wanted to harness the potential of an online ordering service. Traditionally, their subscription method relied on customers completing and mailing order forms through the postal system. This method was time-consuming and costly and did not always provide the optimum experience for new subscribers. They needed Latcham Direct’s help to develop an alternative that would minimize or eliminate these problems.

Upon examining Time Magazines Europe’s current process, coupled with their campaign goals, Latcham Direct immediately saw a solution: rather than run a traditional direct mail-only campaign, they would create an online subscription process using crossmedia powered by XMPie solutions. With XMPie’s PersonalEffect system and uProduce Marketing Console, Latcham Direct could execute a tightly-coordinated campaign that spanned multiple channels and improved the customer experience, with precise marketing analytics tools that would allow for real-time monitoring of campaign results.

These were the types of features that had led Latcham Direct to acquire XMPie solutions in the first place.

“Increasingly, our clients wanted us to be able to deliver complex customer communications across multiple channels including print, email and web, and to tell them which channel delivered the best return on marketing investment,” said Kevin Pembroke, Marketing Director. “In today’s world, catering to individual preferences regarding the type of media by which customers want to be engaged is vital. Companies that were very traditional in the past are increasingly striving to embrace users who prefer online media, but want to do so without abandoning the tried and true nature of direct mail. XMPie was the ideal technology choice to deliver a balanced approach that provides the full value of each media type.”

When Latcham Direct pitched the cross-media campaign concept to the team at Time Magazines Europe, the team opted to run a test campaign to evaluate the performance of this new type of marketing initiative. Their goals for this test campaign were fairly conservative: to receive a response rate that was at least equal to the response rates of traditional campaigns and to improve the customer experience. Latcham Direct was confident that their proposed solution would meet these goals.

Latcham Direct launched the campaign by distributing a mailing pack that consisted of a subscription solicitation letter, loyalty card, flyer and return envelope, all produced on Xerox 525 Continuous Laser Printers. Each subscription letter contained a PURL that led recipients to a personalised landing page where they could subscribe online to Time Magazine, if that was their preference. Throughout the campaign, Latcham Direct was able to precisely monitor results and statistics, reporting critical data back to Time Magazines Europe.

“XMPie allowed us to develop and manage a complex cross-media campaign through all stages and provide the client with a demonstrable return on investment in real-time, using the Marketing Console”said Garry Ford, Account Director.

Results far exceeded Time Magazines Europe’s goals. Thanks to the cross-media approach, 30 per cent responded online. The success of the campaign led Time Magazines Europe to have Latcham Direct run the campaign twice more. To date, the campaign has reached nearly 1.6 million potential subscribers in the UK and has continued to prove to be highly successful, with a conversion rate of nearly 75 percent for recipients who visited their PURL.

The addition of the online ordering option via a PURL proved to be an asset for many reasons aside from boosting response rates. Sign-ups were completed faster and at a lower cost to Time Magazines Europe, as the delay caused by mailing back the order form and the expense of manually processing them were eliminated. From the customer perspective, the PURLs made ordering quicker and easier, and between this and the personalisation aspect, the customer experience was enhanced, as was their perception of Time Magazine as a trusted brand.

Additional cycles of the campaign are planned through 2013. New features are in development on the use of the PURL and metrics available through the Marketing Console to drive additional sales from visitors who don’t make a purchase. Time Magazines Europe and Latcham Direct are confident that the subscription base and subscriber experience of Time Magazine will continue to be positive on all fronts.