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Jeanne Jennings is currently a freelance consultant helping organizations generate revenue in a variety of ways using email. Previously, she served as Director of Email Product Development for Cahners Business Information. Cahners Business Information, a subsidiary of Reed-Elsevier, publishes 120 business-to-business print magazines.  AdMarketing recently asked Jeanne how email lists are created and distributed. 

Q: How does Cahners use list marketing?

Q: How does someone end up on an opt-in list?

Q: Can you outline the steps for capturing an email address offline and then sending mail online?

Q: Can you tell us a little about the process of sending out mail? For example: how do you match an existing name with an email address, when are they added to a permission-based list, and finally when are they added to a third party rental list.


Q: How does Cahners use list marketing?

A: Cahners uses list marketing/e-mail addresses to provide:

  • email newsletters (e-letters for short) with editorial content
    goal: to drive traffic to websites, get people to register on our sites and generate revenue from ads in the e-letters

  • third-party promotions
    goal: to generate revenue from third-parties

  • information on new website features and new e-letters
    goal: to drive people to register on the sites and sign up for new online products/services

  • dates and registration information for webcasts, online trade shows and other web events
    goal: to generate traffic for events and (for paid events) revenue

  • partnership/in-house promotions 
    goal: to generate revenue (often a revenue split with partners)

  • acquisition and retention efforts for print products 
    goal: to cost-effectively gain and maintain print subscribers

Q: How does someone end up on an opt-in list?

A: We do a bit of opt-in, primarily on the websites and on a few of our print magazine qual cards. Online, many of our sites ask visitors to register to get access to additional content (i.e. current articles are free but to access the archive we ask you to register). Registration online involves only a few questions (5 to 7 typically), rather than the larger number of questions on the print magazine qualification card. A few of our print magazines qual cards also ask an 'opt-in' question for e-mail newsletters. 

Q: Can you outline the steps for capturing an email address offline and then sending mail online?

A: We gain most of our email addresses offline via our print magazine qualification cards. Most of Cahners magazines are controlled circulation, meaning it is an ad revenue (rather than subscription revenue) model. The subscribers provide us demographics, including:

- name, snail-mail address, email address, title, company name

- professional area(s) of interest/expertise, job description

- buying authority (what types of products/services they are authorized to buy for their company) 

- amount spent on these types of purchases

- While most of these names come from offline forms, you can view the online versions of these forms here.

In return for their demographics, if the person qualifies, we will send them the print magazine at no charge. We then use the information garnered from the subscribers (in aggregate form) to sell advertising in the magazine to cover the costs of producing and sending the magazine.

Currently, the majority of these forms offer a box to check if you do not wish to receive third party promotions (opt-out). They state that you may receive e-mails from our circulation department and from editorial groups. When these print magazines qualification cards are received by our circulation department, the e-mail addresses are collected and provided to two additional groups:

  • Cahners Business Lists (CBL), which is our third-party list rental group (Only those who have not checked the box mentioned in the previous paragraph are used by CBL; CahnersDirect is the e-mail arm of this group)

    Our internal IT group that manages the e-letter lists (all e-mail addresses go to this group) CBL adds the e-mail addresses of those who did not opt-out to the lists they sell to third-parties; our internal IT group adds the e-mail addresses to the e-letter(s) associated with the magazine(s) the person requested--the first issue will have a note at the top explaining how we got the person's email address, and providing a link to allow them to easily unsubscribe from the e-letter list. Typically, the e-letter lists are the ones used to send information on new website features/e-letters, webcasts and other online events and partnership/in-house promotions. The circulation department also uses the e-mail addresses to send retention notices for print products.

Q: Can you tell us a little about the process of sending out mail? For example: how do you match an existing name with an email address, when are they added to a permission-based list, and finally when are they added to a third party rental list.

A: CBL used to append and/or thumbprint, but has ceased doing so. They determined it was not cost effective at about the same time that Cahners began looking at our email procedures and determined that appending/thumbprinting was not consistent with our new privacy policy. Prior to the new policy and to opt-out on the print magazine cal cards, CBI had a 'double opt-out' procedure, where each email address would receive two e-mails introducing CBI and offering a link to unsubscribe and not receive third-party promotions via e-mail. This procedure was phased out when the opt-out question was included on the print magazine qualification cards.


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