Let’s Play Post Office

Before we can mail you our regular collection of inside gossip, informed observations and light-hearted asides, we need a note from you — a very personal note.

Isn’t this issue’s cover nice? The penguin, standing tall and majestic, honors the first-person account of a BMET’s once-in-a-lifetime trip to Antarctica that you’ll find on page 22.

So why did we cover it up with a card nagging you to resubscribe to 24×7?

I called an expert for the answer: Mr. Brett McEnelly of Online Data Inc. in St. Paul, Minn. Online is the company hired to manage the circulation of 24×7 and its sister magazines.

“The biggest misconception a lot of readers have is that once they subscribe to a magazine they don’t have to resubscribe,” McEnelly told me. “They do, even if it’s a ‘free’ magazine.”

“Free” carries a price tag. Before we can mail you our regular collection of inside gossip, informed observations and light-hearted asides, we need a note from you — a very personal note that includes details about what you do at work, a sincere request to continue our relationship and, to complete the commitment, your unique signature.

Few couples pass such intimate billets-doux.

We do it to prove to the U.S. Postal Service that we’re not sending you unsolicited beseechments like an obsessed admirer. (In other words, junk mail.) That’s why you have to check the “yes” box on the card and sign it. 24×7 could still try to stalk you, but the postage would be a lot more expensive!

And expense is one reason we ask you to “qualify” — that is, answer several questions about what you do in the healthcare technology management, service and support industry. We can’t afford to send 

24×7 to everyone who thinks a picture of a penguin is cool.

Our qualification process meets the requirements of the company that oversees circulation claims, Business Publications Auditing (BPA). It also improves the image outsiders have of our industry. BPA confirms the demographic profile of 24×7’s 16,000+ readers in more than 55 countries. We use this verified information to prove to the world that the biomed industry is made up of people with comprehensive technical skills who profoundly influence the quality of healthcare delivered in all parts of the globe, even Antarctica.

Requalification must be repeated annually, and if you don’t fill out the qualification information on the card … Well, you don’t get the magazine for one thing, even if you gave us your address and signed it. But you also cheat yourself — and your peers — out of well-deserved respect.

All audited “controlled circulation” magazines go through this, and must drop old subscribers, much as you might drop a distant acquaintance from your holiday card list if you haven’t received a card from him in a couple of years.

“Every time there is a subscription card or a cover wrap on a magazine, send it in so you don’t fall through the cracks,” is McEnelly’s advice. He doesn’t mind the extra work. “It only takes a minute for us to key in your address.”

If you have a question about the process, or your subscription, there is a special number you can call: 651-686-7824. They’ll be glad to help you.

And if you need to change your address, McEnelly suggests sending the card from the magazine so you can be requalified at the same time. “It still costs the same 33 cents.”

So, drop us a line. I promise to write back.