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Subscription inconsitency

Discussion in 'AP Magazine Feedback & Suggestions' started by GeoffR, Aug 7, 2017.

  1. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Last week I received my subscription renewal, £29.16 a quarter. I see in AP dated 12 August that I can subscribe for just £24.74 a quarter. So extending my subscription is £4.22 a quarter more expensive than starting again. It really is nice to be appreciated.

    As it happens I had already decided that I wouldn't extend my subscription because I no longer have the desire to hear about new products, techniques that aren't relevant to my software or receive equipment comparison charts. I shall miss Roger's Final Analysis however. Much of the rest of the magazine goes unread.

    I have reached a point where I am satisfied with my kit and looking at what is coming along doesn't excite me any more. One day I may come back to the magazine but for now I'm giving it a rest, and saving some space in the recycling bin.
  2. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    The inconsistency has often been there, Geoff. In fact, there is a half-price offer for new subscribers running at present.

    They seem to have some way of detecting whether a "new" subscriber has just cancelled a DD on a current subscription. Not sure how long you have to let the old subscription lapse before you can re-enrol as a new subscriber at a special offer price.

    I'm afraid that when it comes to saving a few pounds, I rarely think the hassle is justified by the potential saving. I think the marketeers call this the "inertia factor" - the same reason that many of us pay over the odds for gas and electricity, motor insurance, home insurance, savings accounts, broadband, etc., etc., etc - simply because we cannot be bothered to manipulate the system by changing supplier every year. AP is slightly different as it is a monopoly supplier of a quality weekly UK photographic magazine (unless someone can point me towards another).
    Nigel_Atherton and Roger Hicks like this.
  3. Nigel_Atherton

    Nigel_Atherton Group Editor

    If I wasn't already with my bank they'd give me £200 if I opened an account. I also have Sky TV. If I didn't, and was to join now, I'd get it much cheaper, as a new customer. But on the other hand I just became a Virgin broadband customer and so am getting it cheaper than everyone else in my street. Special offers and incentives for new customers are everywhere you look. AP's subscription offer changes all the time. Sometimes there's a free gift, sometimes no gift but a bigger discount, and then we have exclusive offers at shows and events. All of this is out of my control. But I'm sorry you're not renewing your subscription anyway.
  4. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Thank you Nigel, as with many things a break is sometimes the best way forwards.
  5. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    Few business value existing customers as much a they value new customers... it's another example of short-term thinking.
    A very experienced salesman once told me that losing repeat customers was easy - you just ignore them.

    However, I also subscribe to a serious Hi-Fi magazine written by and for adults, and I always get the best 'current' price when renewing.
    One year I even got a very useful 'gift' being offered to attract new subscribers... I have now been a subscriber for over 20 years.
    Roger Hicks likes this.
  6. Nigel_Atherton

    Nigel_Atherton Group Editor

    That's very unusual. Almost unique. Either it must have been a low value gift, or they got it free themselves (which virtually never happens) or they cant have many subscribers.
    If we gave one of our typical subs gifts (say a bag or tripod) to every AP subscriber the cost to us would be in six figures.
    I do however think it would great if loyalty was rewarded, and the renewal cost went down each year, rather than up. And not just for magazines but everything.
    PhotoEcosse and Roger Hicks like this.
  7. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Some years ago, on a one day course, I was given information on the cost of retaining a customer against attracting a new one. I can no longer remember the numbers but I know the cost of attracting a new customer was many times that of retaining an existing one. The other interesting statistic was that each customer who has a bad experience will tell five other people, people who have a good experience will tell just one.
    Andrew Flannigan and Roger Hicks like this.
  8. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I'm sure it was 8 and 3, but that was pre-social media. It's now 800,000 and 3. ;)

    But the cost of customer retention is precisely the issue; publishers spend nothing on retaining customers, but quite a lot on trying to win new ones. When I was Customer Relations manager of a car company, my out-of-warranty budget was 1/10 of the marketing budget - but we retained 50% of customers. Money well spent.
    Roger Hicks likes this.
  9. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Very likely you are right Nick, it was over 30 years ago and in any case the important point is that bad news travels further than good news.
    Shame other companies don't see it as worthwhile.
    Roger Hicks likes this.
  10. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    I did say once in 20 years for the gift, but it was something really useful. They were offering a CD with test tones, frequency tests at different frequencies, tones for left or right only, etc. I have used it a few times when trying to diagnose problems or setting up new equipment (as recently as last week) and now know that I can no longer hear the 16 kHz tone I could hear a few years ago. For AP I suppose the equivalent would be an A2 sized lens test chart, which would probably cost less to produce than a CD.

    My comment about retaining existing / repeat customers (subscribers) should be taken seriously. I don't believe anybody is naive enough to expect subscription costs to go down each year, merely that a subscription renewals should always be at the best rate that AP offers to new subscribers. However, I assume that such things are not within the control of a magazine's editor, but depend on the current policy of the magazine's publishers.
  11. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    I have all those test tones etc. but on Vinyl. However I also have an App on my iPad that does the same things and it was under £5, it is much more useful to me than a CD or record as I can use it anywhere whether or not there is a player. I suspect the CD cost pennies to produce, the jewel case would be more expensive. The point is that the gift is very useful and low cost. Gifts don't have to be expensive they have to be something essential, a handkerchief sized microfibre cleaning cloth say, even half that size, would be really useful.

    Strangely, all I want is to be a valued customer, that can be achieved by acknowledging that I have been a subscriber for many years and ensuring that I get a price better than, or at least as good as, a new subscriber, even if it is only by a few £ a year. I don't need the incentive "gift".

    As I perceive it the message is "We don't really care about you, but we do care about new subscribers".

    Oh, and for what it is worth, none of the sign-up gifts would attract me to subscribe, after 40+ years I have all the accessories I could possibly need.
    Roger Hicks likes this.
  12. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    There point of the offers to new subscribers is to hook them so that they can charge full price for subsequent years; it makes no financial sense to allow everyone to pay the loss leader price.
  13. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    Wouldn't shopping be fun if supermarkets priced things this way?
  14. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    No of course it doesn't Nick but equally it makes no more sense to lose a customer only to get them back three months later at the lost leader price.
    Benchista likes this.
  15. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Geoff,

    Lost leader? Would that be Call-Me-Dave or Treese?

    Both of whom are of course priceless. Or do I mean valueless?


    Trannifan and GeoffR like this.
  16. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    I tried to do this this a few years ago but was advised that they check postcodes in case you are a recently 'lapsed' subscriber.
    Otherwise everybody would lapse and start again after a week or two.
  17. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I'll let you know. I just got a subscription ending notice although I thought my subscription was auto-renewing, I don't remember getting one before, I'm letting it lapse to see if they finally stop mailing me two copies each week.
  18. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    It might be worth telephoning them and asking them what happens at renewal. I am on the quarterly direct debit, and at the last renewal I called them and was offered an unchanged rate 'until the rates changed'. I have now been paying £25.50 quarterly since January 2016, and before that £22.77. The latest AP offers a £24.74 rate, so I will ask about this at the next renewal.

    What I really resent is the 'one day only' half price offer to new subscribers that sometimes appears on the AP website.
  19. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Depends on which definition of "Lost" you are using, lost as in "don't know where I am" or lost as in "used up in waste".

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