So I renewed my Entertainment Weekly (EW) subscription.
I wrote a post a few months ago ("Print media declines as public seeks online sources") in which I said I let my membership lapse when unread copies began piling up on my nightstand. This happened almost immediately after I purchased my first smartphone three years ago. Instead of reading the pop culture periodical before going to sleep as I had done in the time before I owned an iPhone, my bedtime routine now entailed flicking through Facebook and Instagram. I indicated at the time I had no plans to renew, but... they got me.
EW's year-end recap has always been a favorite.
1. Persistence and Repetition: EW sent me several “We want you back!” notices via snail mail and email. I ignored EW’s requests at first, but eventually I reconsidered. (“Hmmm... Maybe I should renew...”) No doubt the magazine realizes it’s easier to bring back a former subscriber than attract a new one and they played to that. As a former subscriber, I'm already familiar with the material. If, however, someone hadn't been in the routine of receiving the magazine, then I imagine it would be harder to persuade them to join.
In addition, there is something to said for reiteration as a marketing tool – when a product or service is mentioned again and again it does have a way of imbedding in one’s mind and playing on one’s emotions. It’s almost as if familiarity is equated with a product's quality and a perceived need for the good or service. I've found that I'm more likely to buy something if I've "heard" of it. There have been several times when an item is familiar, but I'm not exactly sure why or how – marketing of some sort is probably a factor, be it social media, TV commercials, billboards, etc.
2. Subject Interest: I love pop culture, and I’ve had a lifelong interest in movies, TV, music, celebrity culture, and the rest. I've sought out other entertainment periodicals, but I've found EW does the best job of covering a variety of mainstream media and doing so in a visually interesting way through photos and graphics. I would probably be less interested if Cheese Quarterly were trying to sell me a subscription – not that there's anything wrong with hard dairy. It's just that I'd rather read about the latest "Star Wars" than the latest Gouda.
3. Celebrity Endorsement: I’d like to think I’m one who’s not susceptible to celebrity endorsements, but Billy Eichner got to me. I'm a fan of the host of truTV’s “Billy on the Street,” a humorous pop culture game show of sorts. In a recent interview, Eichner talked about his fondness for showbiz news AND the fact that he’s been an EW subscriber since he was a kid. I admit I became excited when he namechecked the glossy! If it's good enough for Billy, it's good enough for me!
There you have what I believe to be the keys to gain a new patron or bring back a former one – persistence and repetition, inherent interest, and the approval of a public figure. And since this post is about a pop culture mag, I feel it's fitting that I end with a movie quote. As Michael Corleone uttered so famously in “The Godfather: Part III”: “Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in!”