It’s a transformative time for the publishing industry. Traditionally ad-driven, this marketplace is facing serious challenges that didn’t exist a generation ago. Publishers have to maintain ad revenue even as advertising dollars become increasingly segmented. More and more readers are going online to get information. And then there’s the constant struggle to monetize digital content. Mansueto Ventures, LLC –the publisher of Inc. and Fast Company magazines – knew these challenges all too well.
“Like many of our peers, I think we weren’t always following best practices for eCommerce,” explains Anne Marie O’Keefe, vice president of consumer marketing and audience development at Mansueto. “We were using lots of legacy systems and all of them were separate. Digital products were being sold out of one place. Memberships were sitting somewhere else. Print fulfillment was handled separately. Awards were housed in their own system. None of these systems were interacting with each other, which made for real challenges from a marketing and reporting standpoint.”
O’Keefe came to Mansueto from Scientific American, and she had heard about the successful Slatwall eCommerce implementation that ten24 had completed for that publisher. She was impressed with what had been accomplished and invited the ten24 team to come in and talk about what they could do for Mansueto. By June of 2015, the ten24 development team rolled up its sleeves and got to work.
A single platform, multiple benefits
“Mansueto sells a variety of products – everything from printed magazines and books to digital content, iPad apps, awards, and events,” says David Crouch, president of ten24. “One of the unique things about Slatwall is that it enables you to sell both physical and non-physical products. In terms of what Mansueto does, Slatwall was a great fit. Now, everything runs on one platform, instead of on disparate legacy systems.”
But this was just one part of the implementation. The ten24 team also recognized that integrating Slatwall with Mansueto’s print fulfillment provider could yield significant benefits for its client. Orders now come straight into Slatwall, and then get passed along to the fulfillment provider as an integration. This means Mansueto’s marketing team now has unprecedented flexibility to create new landing pages. As Brad Gustavesen, vice president of ten24, explains, “Mansueto can choose exactly how it wants to sell its products at any given time. Marketing can create a landing page that sells just a single back issue of a magazine or a straightforward annual subscription. But there’s also the flexibility to turn on robust up-selling options – a function that wasn’t available with the legacy system.”
For example, by switching on the gifting option, customers who are buying a gift subscription to a magazine are prompted to consider adding a second subscription for themselves. If customers check the “yes” option, the second subscription is added automatically. Mansueto administrators also have the option to allow customers to send personalized gift messages to their recipients. Simply put, moving the Inc. and Fast Company subscription landing pages onto the Slatwall platform saves money, opens up cross-selling opportunities, and provides better overall customer service.
A business-building solution
For O’Keefe and her team, the partnership with ten24 and the switch to Slatwall has been nothing short of a game-changer. “Slatwall allows all of our products to be sold in one place,” she says. “We’re able to showcase as many of our different offerings as possible in a single customer experience. So let’s say someone is going on our website to enter one of our award programs. That person might not even be thinking about buying our print magazines. But Slatwall now makes it possible for our magazine subscriptions to appear in the customer’s payment flow. Now there’s an extra purchasing opportunity available that didn’t exist before.” As a matter of fact, O’Keefe is confident that this scenario will lead to an increase in Mansueto’s print subscription sales.
She also agrees that the upsell potential that Slatwall provides makes a tremendous difference to Mansueto’s bottom line. “Before working with ten24, the only upsell we could offer was from print to print, so if you bought an Inc. subscription you could add a Fast Company subscription, and vice versa,” she says. “But now, with Slatwall, we can put so many other things in the upsell. In fact, we can upsell everything we have.”
Slatwall also offers impressive reporting and tracking functionality. O’Keefe says this has been particularly valuable with Mansueto’s awards programs, which are the company’s fastest-growing products. In 2016, Mansueto ran the administration for these programs through Slatwall for the first time. As O’Keefe notes, “With our annual Innovation by Design awards, we were able to track how many entrants we had, how many of them also entered our World-Changing Idea awards, and how many entrants purchased subscriptions. It’s opening up a lot of doors for us.”
"Quite simply, Slatwall is the most flexible thing we’ve ever used."
She explains that the World-Changing Ideas awards was a brand-new product that was easy to create and add because of the Slatwall platform’s flexibility. “Quite simply, Slatwall is the most flexible thing we’ve ever used,” she says. “This platform lets us do everything! It has infused eCommerce into everything that our team does and into the way we think about our customers’ experience. We are eternally grateful for that; we are with ten24 and Slatwall for the long run.”