Holiday Q&A Series:
Publishing & Media


How Publishing and Media Brands Can Successfully Navigate the 2020 Holiday Season


Like many other industries, publishing and media brands have experienced both successes and challenges in 2020. On one hand, with people being at home more, streaming services have boomed to fill the needs of content-hungry consumers. At the same time, ad revenue has decreased as uncertain advertisers pull back campaigns.

As we move into the holidays, publishing and media brands are implementing several strategies to successfully navigate the coming months and beyond. We spoke with Wiland’s resident publishing and media expert and Division Vice President Jan Chandler to ask her how publishing and media brands can prepare for a successful 2020 holiday season.


How do you expect the 2020 holiday season will be different for most publishing and media brands?

“This year has seen a lot of changes on both fronts. For publishers, it’s been mostly good news. People have been reading more and looking for content that they can trust, and many book sellers have had trouble keeping up with the increased demand—which is a good problem to have! Response rates have also been strong for publishers who mailed during the early months of the pandemic.

For media brands, volume grew immensely beginning in mid-March as people sought entertainment while spending more time at home. That acquisition has slowed now and retention is a major focus as consumers settle into their new norms.

Overall, I think the holiday season will remain largely unchanged for publishers and that they’ll run their usual gift campaigns, renewal programs, and cold mailings. I do think that response will be higher this year, as the gift of new monthly reading material is more valuable now than ever.”

How are you seeing publishing and media brands adapting their advertising strategies?

“Publishing brands have a lot of tried and true strategies to increase gift giving that they’ve implemented historically, but this year we’re seeing more activity on Facebook and other social media channels. December and January represent peak season for publishers’ direct mailing, and we’re seeing more interest in having direct mail audiences activated digitally as well for an additional touch and to try to achieve an incremental lift in response.”

What else can publishing and media brands be doing now to successfully navigate the holidays?

“This year, with people staying at home more, gifts of monthly subscriptions are very timely and relevant—things that the recipient can look forward to over a long period. We’re seeing that craft titles, niche interest titles, and finance magazines in particular are all experiencing increased response and website traffic. I think that it’s a particularly ripe market for publishing and media brands, and they should be using multichannel strategies to reach prospective subscribers where they’re consuming their information.”

What are some ways that publishing and media brands are working with Wiland to prepare for the holidays?

“The most important thing that our publishing and media clients are doing right now is sharing results with us. The more results we have, the more opportunity we have to deliver future success for our clients because we can make the best recommendations according to the landscape and the campaign.

In terms of specific solutions, we’re helping our publishing clients co-target their direct mail campaigns with digital display advertising—providing a high-impact second touch that results in both additional online and offline revenue. Many of our clients are also looking to expand their prospect audiences—seeking to reach even more high-quality, high-response consumers uniquely ready to subscribe with them now.

For our media clients, we’re helping them navigate the acquisition slowdown by focusing on the retention of high-quality subscribers. We’re also using the power of our vast transaction and social media engagement data to inform them about their subscribers’ spending habits and interests so they can drive more ad revenue, which has been a challenge this year. From initial acquisition through maximizing ROI, Wiland has the data that our clients need to achieve their best results.”

Any closing advice you’d give to publishing and media brands on how they can continue to adapt to achieve success this holiday season?

“From a messaging perspective, be sure you’re demonstrating awareness of the current environment. Don’t use a stale message to tell a new story. In terms of your marketing, focus on finding the right audience instead of simply trying to reach the most people. The more targeted your marketing, the better your results will be—and we have the data to help you get there.”

Headshot of Jan Chandler

About Jan

A perennial learner, avid reader, and self-proclaimed “data geek,” Jan Chandler is the Division Vice President leading Wiland’s publishing and media solutions team. With diverse publishing experience and a deep understanding of the publishing industry, Jan works with her clients to develop creative, data-driven marketing solutions to solve their unique business challenges and improve their bottom lines.

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