(c) 2012 Earl L Haehl – Permission is granted to redistribute this in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.
Well, it happened. Playboy is seeking me out….along with maybe 200,000 other “potential” subscribers. I know the game and everyone else knows the game. How do you market a hard copy magazine in a digital age? What they are looking for are demographics: male, over 55, has other magazine subscriptions.
Here’s the deal. Male. That has always been a demographic for Playboy. This was proclaimed by Hefner in 1963.
Over 55: There are a couple reasons for this. One is that the over 55 male population is perceived as sexually restless in “studies” and market research questionnaires with warranty cards. The reliability of such research is suspect. I can recall sitting in McDonalds with some friends filling out “anonymous” questionnaires—it can be a hoot. It is like faking an identity on the internet—and do not say there are safeguards because there are people who regard them as a challenge. Secondly, the over 55 crowd might be willing to read hard copy. And this is more critical. You can interviews with serious thinkers on the internet (and is that not the reason to read Playboy in the first place) as well as finding purveyors of hedonistic paraphernalia. If the magazine fails to attract readers, ad revenues fall.
Have other magazine subscriptions: If someone does have subscriptions, they are more likely to subscribe. Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. And I admit to subscribing to a number of magazines catering to male interests—shooting, flying, fishing, military, &c. So I probably fall in the 50-60 percent likely category—remember that this is also 40-50 percent unlikely, but those are decent odds when you are in a dying industry.
Then there are the special offers like price. This is the same as other magazine offers I get. A dollar an issue is nothing to sneeze at.
In other words, it is a trying time in the magazine industry as a whole—I am considering going to online subscriptions for several that I already get. Advertisers understand this. Back when I was hustling ads the primary tool we used was the Audit Bureau of Circulation and the knowledge that drive time radio was better because it is the buffer in the background. You tend to remember what you hear while doing something else—you do not have to remember where you heard it but you have heard it twice a day for the last three months.