Remember that season of The Office when Ryan got fired for duplicating “real world” sales on the company’s fancy new website? The not-so-subtle marketing ploy, aimed at proving the awesomeness of Dunder Mifflin’s new digital platform, came to mind again when reading Stephen Totilo’s piece on Kotaku.com about Game Informer subscriptions.
According to Totilo, “Game Informer subscriptions have long been part of the GameStop shopping experience. Signing up for the retail chain’s used-game discount program and its rewards system meant getting a sub to GI as well, helping the magazine maintain its ranking as one of the most widely read magazines of any type in America.”
Yes, you read that right: GI is one of the most widely read magazines on any type in America.
And now they appear to be knocking it out of the park on digital subscriptions. This Digital Dashboard from Next Steps Marketing shows GI wildly outpacing digital subscriptions for Cosmo, Maxim, Reader’s Digest, ESPN The Magazine and Oprah. Oprah? Really? And we mean wildly, at a rate of about 10 to one last year.
That must be some kind of digital magazine, you say. Well, before we label GI as the undisputed masters of the digital mag, let’s consider how they gained the bulk of those sign-ups.
According to the rumor mill, including this post on Reddit, the company relied on some fairly heavy-handed tactics, including:
- Instructing GameStop employees to sign up all rewards program members for digital subscriptions.
- Renewing all existing subscriptions, print or digital, for the digital version unless they specifically request print.
That’s some smooth marketing, and the numbers are certainly making someone in the digital content corridors pretty happy.
All we can really say is well played, GI, well played.