Dearest Bass Player,
We've been good friends for 5 years or so. I read your magazine, buy products from your advertisers, attend Bass Player Live, and am a reasonably active member of your forum. So I think our relationship can handle a conversation about subscription renewal notices.
First, I know it's not your fault. You are forced into it by your parent corporation, Music Player. It's put together by some marketing team back east, and your editors never even see the notices that are sent to subscribers, much less have any say in them. Everything is planned well in advance, using magazine advertising tricks, to lure in subscribers and keep them. I understand. Don't take it personally. But I'm going to complain anyway.
My two year subscription renewal runs out this coming September. Last September, I received notices marked "Urgent!", telling me that my subscription was about to run out and I'd better hurry and do something. Does this work on some people? Can they not read the date printed there that says when the subscription is over? Or...are they just willing to renew right then because that will avoid all the future notices? I am beginning to think that might be the case.
Yesterday I got the latest issue. Glued to the cover (I hate that!!!) was an envelope marked "V.I.P. Savings". Apparently they mean "VIP" in the sense that VIP's pay more than everyone else, because the rates offered are about 67% higher than what is offered on the postcard tucked inside the magazine. I did note that I should hurry and lock that rate in by February 22, or - horrors! - it will expire. I feel my meager intelligence is being insulted here.
The part I dread the most, as alluded to earlier, is that I know this is only the beginning and that I have no way to turn it off. My mailbox, email, and magazines will constantly be more and more full with subscription offers of varying quality. I'm aware that this is a tactic - hound them to death, until they have no choice but to surrender and renew - but it's one that I and perhaps many other subscribers dislike very much. Enough to write this annoying public letter.
One may ask: if I know the tsunami is coming, and I'm going to subscribe anyway, why not do it now? The secret goes back to that VIP offer. Part of me wants to just renew now, because I really like the magazine and I love being part of the bass player community. But a few years of dealing with this have trained me that the longer I wait, the more desperate the offers become, and then I will get a better renewal rate. So yes, I'm at fault too.
How can we end this? Perhaps if I'm offered to renew at the same rate as I did previously (with an increase for inflation, that's reasonable). Why don't you notify me about three months before my subscription runs out - that gives a little lead time in case I'm busy and forget. To be sure, that's part of what the marketing team knows - people get busy, you've got to keep on top of them. But people also hate lots of junk mail and perhaps other people besides me really hate the whole rate change renewal game too.
P.S. Let me say again - thanks to the poor editors who read this. I know you're doing your job, and doing it well.