Premiums can help trigger a sale, increase order size and improve customer service Linden tells DM Days Audience

July 19, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
New York, NY – Copywriter and Consultant Shira Linden of PromoWriting addressed key strategies for using premiums and freemiums to lift response at DM Days on June 22.

Ms. Linden said that premiums can strengthen your relationship with your customer. When mentioned on your outer envelope, a premium can motivate customers to open a mailing headed for the round file, she added.

“Just like the fashion industry, premiums have their hot sellers and their has beens. Watches, pedometers, messenger bags, totes, radios, and stainless steel mugs are hot this year. Has beens include cameras (due to the digital photography revolution), knives and scissors (due to 9/11), jumbo display clocks with time, temperature and dates, travel alarm clocks and umbrellas (because marketers can’t get the quality they want at the price point they’re looking for).”

What price point is that? Most marketers like to come in at under $3.00 per item. Some will go as high as $4.00 or $5.00. Costs for premiums are rising, since surcharges of about $1,000 per container have been affixed due to rising energy and materials costs.

Seventy-five percent of marketers do imprinting in order to keep their brand name and message in front of customers.

Premiums can take many forms, Linden stated. “It can be a small gift… more of your product….a related product or even free shipping.” She cited several examples from the publishing industry, including Hearst, who is not a big premium user. They like to sell magazines on their own merits at a reasonable price. But when they tried a combination sale in the Quality School Plan setting it boosted response so much it got their attention.

To attract a younger female consumer, Hearst bundled a subscription to Seventeen with a six-month subscription to Cosmo Girl…and it was a runaway success. Then they tried to “combo sale” with Cosmo and Marie Claire, and even got some of these new subscribers to renew.

Ms. Linden also mentioned how Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine switched from premiums to freemiums a few years ago, with “12 Grade-A Ways to Build a Nest Egg for Retirement.” It was a 4-color laminated insert that was supplanted by a second freemium, “8 Steps to a Better Retirement”. Better copy netted them a 10% lift. Carol LePere, Circulation Director and Associate Publisher, told Linden about their new control, which she calls the “Crazy Rich Aunt Letter.” Kiplinger’s pulled this letter from a 9x12 package mailed 10 years ago, and paired it with some nice-looking peel-off labels. This beat out all of their prior acquisition efforts.

To close out her portion of the panel, Ms Linden cited statistics from ParadyszMatera, a leading list brokerage and consulting firm serving the magazine industry that tracks premium and freemium use with their promotion tracking tool, MarketRelevance. Glenn Lalich, Vice President, reports that in the consumer magazine segment, 6% used a premium on order and 37% used premiums on payment. When you combine premiums and freemiums, 48% of publishers use some kind of incentive to lift response.

Freemium use for publishers was 8% for 2005, up from 7% in 2004 and 2003. Non-profit freemium use was 37% in 2005 up from 35% in 2004.

Jill Querceto, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Capital Design addressed the non-profit segment, and Byron Scarlett, Circulation Manager for Crains New York Business addressed how Crains uses premiums to boost retention.

Contact Shira at 203 371-0654, e-mail her at or visit