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Anne Brugman, audience development director at Advanstar Communications, spent the last six months focusing on the company's e-newsletter and e-zine products.
Media Business: What have you been doing?
Anne Brugman: We reduced the amount of email distribution for our e-newsletter and e-zine products by more than 55%, shifted to a strategy of mailing to engaged and opted-in audiences only, all while extensively testing (creative, subject line, content), [which has resulted] in an overwhelming 124% overall increase in open rates. Some products have shown as high as a 410% increase. The entire process also included spam score reviews, working with editorial on content driven initiatives, as well as working with the creative team on template modifications.
MB: What are the biggest issues for your department right now and how are you attacking them?
Brugman: While the title transformation from circulation to audience development took effect nearly four years ago, we are still working on moving more of the operational tasks out of our department in order to shift even more focus on strategy. Rather than just push out reports, as key strategists it's critical to really analyze the numbers, measure the metrics, ask why the numbers are what they are and determine what changes need to be made in order to take the product to the next level. ... We are constantly evaluating the purpose and worth of all operational tasks and streamlining reports wherever possible.
MB: What are your biggest concerns across the industry as an audience marketer?
Brugman: Technology and databases. Speed of data is truly a driving factor when it comes to affecting the business and business decisions overall. Relying on multiple databases not only significantly slows down data transfer but inevitably increases the margin of error.