History of Marketing and Newsletters Part 4 Different Approaches

About the history of marketing and newsletters, about some popular newsletters, their various approaches between speculation and fact.

A Newsletter on Newsletters

Some of the highest subscription rates shown in The Standard Directory of Newsletters appear under "Banking and Finance" (30% are over $100). Yet here is also found one of the most respected financial newsletters, free for the asking. Monthly Economics Letter, published by First National City Bank in New York City, has been around since 1904. Each issue offers several in-depth articles on world economy. A typical example--"The Great Depression: History Never Repeats Itself," a study of the difference between economic factors of the 1930s and today, showing that present conditions can't be measured by a '30s yardstick. (Free from Economics Department, First National City Bank, 399 Park Ave., New York, N.Y. 10022.)

"Find a need and fill it" might be the newsletter credo. New rapport with Peking? Up pops the China Letter to inform American businessmen of china trade possibilities. The 1974 energy crisis? In the 1st 90 days, 6 energy letters appeared on the scene. New era of newsletter growth? Of course there's a letter to cover the subject. The Newsletter on Newsletters was founded in 1964 to report news of the industry and give case histories of successful newsletters and newsletter management tips. A GREAT VICTORY--NEWSLETTERS ADMITTED TO CONGRESSIONAL GALLERIES, heralded a recent issue. The item tells of triumph after a 10-year battle for accreditation of newsletters in the Periodical Galleries of Congress, giving the industry a new stature in journalism.

Another item in The Newsletter on Newsletters applauded the results of an evaluation of 1,402 periodicals by the Periodicals Evaluation Task Force, Dept. of Defense. The study reports, ". . . in an internal communications program . . . newsletters . . . were found to have high readership, credibility, and retention characteristics. . . . They are less formal than 'slick' magazines . . . more easily directed to special groups, and usually are far more timely."

Publishers of investment and business letters derive a healthy income from private consultations with subscribers. Fees run to hundreds of dollars per hour. The Newsletter on Newsletters points out another lucrative source--public speaking. Publishers of newsletters on drugs, fashion, and environment are in demand as "celebrity experts" at $300 to $750 per speech. (Subscription is $29 per year. 14 E. Market St., Rhinebeck, N.Y. 12572.)

Some hardheaded readers shun the editorializing, prophesying family of newsletters. They want only solid facts and statistics on what is happening in their specialized fields. One of the most successful entries in the cold-facts arena is Petroleum Intelligence Weekly. Publisher Wanda Jablonski, an oilman's daughter, has piped a flow of unembellished information on the oil industry to petroleum executives since 1961. PIW's stark report that the Blank Syndicate paid x dollars a barrel in Kuwait last Tuesday would be dreary reading for many, but the industry studies it like a baseball fan poring over batting averages. (Costs $490 per year from 48 W. 48th St., New York, N.Y.)

An intellectual approach to a controversial subject is taken by SIECUS Report, a newsletter on sex information and education, founded in 1966. Primarily aimed at professionals (doctors, teachers, nurses, and clergy), the bimonthly is a valuable reference for parents caught in the hot debate over sex education in schools. SIECUS is an acronym for the Sex Information and Education Council of the U.S. In a recent issue, editor Mary Calderone, MD, restated the position of SIECUS: The fundamental right of freedom of sexual choice involves responsibilities to self and others which require knowledge and a personal ethical code. (Subscription price to individuals, $9. To institutions, $15. 1855 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10023.)

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