Faced with a diminishing print subscription audience, MLive Media Group, in partnership with ACS-MI (Advanced Central Services — Michigan), resolved to find innovative solutions that would add value for our subscribers while at the same time enticing a new target audience.
We realised this would require multi-channel promotional efforts as well as extensive transparent communication to our existing subscribers.
We also wanted to align efforts across all departments – from circulation and distribution to editorial to marketing and sales. All of this, combined with a company-wide passion for supporting growth in Michigan, led to the development of the “My Michigan” membership programme.
Our endeavor: “My Michigan” is a Michigan-loving, members-only benefits programme available exclusively to our subscribers. It features cultural experiences and offers from Michigan’s most cherished organisations and destinations, as well as exclusive editorial content and experiences.
The “My Michigan” initiatives include increasing the value of our relationships with our partners and customers, building loyalty and engagement, improving customer retention opportunities, and increasing customer acquisition.
This programme also allows us to augment our first-party data resources. We meet the needs of both existing and future subscribers with targeted content and benefits, while also growing future sales revenue opportunities.
The experience: To ensure that we meet the needs of current and future-desired subscribers, we built our membership site to be fully responsive regardless of access device (smartphones, tablets, laptop, etc.).
Additionally, we worked to make that membership site a one-stop-shop for our subscribers, offering account management functionality, benefit information, and redemption ability. We also provided them with exclusive access to our daily digital edition content platform.
Choosing to keep our news portal Web site, MLive.com, open access means we had to look for other ways to offer our members’ exclusive content in the fastest growing platforms (digital and mobile).
With this in mind, we offer our subscribers exclusive content in our digital edition platform and member content-benefits, such as our Amplified music series.
Results: The results of these efforts were, and continues to be, overwhelming:
- 2014 actual revenue exceeded budget goal by 1.5%.
- Digital revenue was up by 39% from 2013.
- Promotional expense was under budget by 22%.
- Digital and email starts increased from 2013 by 71%.
As we review the first year of our “My Michigan” member programme, we are poised to take the next steps that are best for our continually growing member base, as well as the future news-consumption audience.
We will continue to align this programme with the efforts of all departments to present the best news, benefits, and account management to our audience.