Direct marketing
A Reader's Digest case study

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Page 3: Setting itself apart

The essence of Reader's Digest today is to appeal to the sort of people whom DeWitt Wallace back in the 1920s envisaged as the readers of his new magazine; busy men and women who welcome an easy-to-read collection of articles to keep them well informed about the world around them.

When Reader's Digest magazine first came to Britain in 1938, a company was formed in London to market the United States edition. It was sold both by direct mail and through retail outlets and circulation soon increased to 250,000 copies a month. This figure warranted printing the magazine in Britain and the first such issue appeared in December 1939, compiled from articles in the United States edition.

Because of a paper shortage during the Second World War, the size and circulation of the British magazine was pegged to pre-war figures, but when controls were lifted in 1950 and with the emergence of a thirst for information at a time of change in society, circulation soon rose, passing the million mark only four years later. As Reader's Digest became more and more part of the national scene, it expanded its coverage of British social trends and controversial issues of the day. On the lighter side, the magazine began to reflect the British way of life and sense of humour in its popular end-of-page "fillers" and amusing anecdotes contributed by readers.

As the readership of Reader’s Digest developed the magazine set itself apart as something that could be read and believed. As the magazine informed, enriched, entertained and inspired, it developed a unique reader relationship reflected through a bond of trust.

Today, a large number of the articles in British Reader’s Digest originate in this country. All the major national concerns – nuclear defence, local government, education, the EU and expanding technology are dealt with, often by leading figures invited to air their views in the magazine. Every article is written in straightforward and lively prose and every fact is meticulously checked by the research department. The standard set by the words is also matched by the quality of the illustrations.

Reader's Digest | Direct marketing