Personal Pricing

A few months ago I let my subscription run out to a certain business magazine that will remain nameless. I like the magazine, but lately I've been going down to the library once every 2-3 weeks for an afternoon and reading through dozens of magazines looking for interesting ideas. I figured I would just re-new my subscription when I get busy and don't have time for the library anymore. But of course, the magazine has sent me tons of special offers.

What's interesting is that I have two addresses. I have never lived in the same location for more than 3 years (and that was only once) so I've found it easier to use a PO Box so if I move around town I don't have to keep changing my address on bills and magazines. Fortune does come to my house instead of my PO Box, because someone bought it for me as a gift. Anyway, I recently received an offer on the lapsed magazine at each mail location in the same week. No big deal right? But the funny thing was – they had different subscription rates by 20%. Everything else on the sheet was exactly the same. Both were "new subscriber" offers, which is odd that I would get one of those to the PO Box where the magazine used to go. I mixed the mail and don't know which address got the lower rate, but I wonder what was the reason for it? Did the company buy lists from several different business magazines and offer subscribers different rates according to the magazine the list was purchased from? Or maybe they realized I have about 5 subscriptions going to my PO Box already and so they thought that I wouldn't pay much for another subscription. Or maybe they thought I really liked business magazines and would thus pay more. I don't know.

I'm sure there is some rhyme or reason to it. It makes sense to segment your pricing as much as possible if you can do it. Magazine subscription prices aren't something people talk about, or even remember, so there is little likelihood of getting caught. For whatever reason though, I keep thinking about the difference and wondering what criteria set the price. If anyone knows how this is done in the business magazine industry, please leave a comment about it.