Direct Mail

Surrounding a Market
March 1, 2004

A Powerful Blend of Direct Marketing Science and Market Research Drives The Hartford’s AARP Insurance Program. Every seven minutes, a U.S. adult turns 50. For AARP, a nonprofit membership organization that advocates on behalf of Americans age 50 and older, that translates into a little more than 200 new potential members a day. And for The Hartford, a 190-year-old investment management and insurance firm based in Hartford, CT, it also means a steady influx of new names for prospecting. Due to The Hartford’s relationship with AARP as the exclusive provider of discounted automobile (and homeowner) insurance to the association’s members, it has more of

Creative Corner: Problem > Solution?
March 1, 2004

Position Your Offer as a Solution When you get down to it, everything we do in direct marketing is based on coming up with a solution to a problem. The way we sell our products and services is to identify people’s needs and wants, and then position our offerings as the fulfillment of those desires. When I think of problem/solution marketing, NetFlix immediately comes to mind. What’s the problem with Netflix? Nothing. As far as I can tell, it’s the perfect Internet-driven direct marketing business. In fact, it’s a solution to a problem. What problem? It goes back to the birth of the Internet,

Direct Mail Design and the Sistine Chapel
March 1, 2004

My wife, Peggy, and I have been to Italy in December twice, and twice we have relished being able to pop into museums, basilicas, chapels and architectural sites without waiting in long lines, without being jostled by thundering herds of tourists and without being deafened by guides nattering a rat-a-tat-tat babble of different languages. Italy in December is glorious! I first saw the Sistine Chapel 50 years ago, then a second time 30 years ago. The colors were drab, and the guides talked about Michelangelo’s use of “chiaroscuro”—light and dark. It turned out that chiaroscuro was none of the artist’s doing. Rather it was the

Direct Mail Strategy: Direct Mail Revival
February 1, 2004

These are exciting times for all of us involved in direct mail. If you’re wondering whether direct mail—the traditional workhorse of direct marketing—is dead or even dying, the answer is a resounding “No!” However, it is changing. And to be successful with your 2004 direct mail efforts, you need to be a part of the change. Times Are Changing Thanks to the now-famous Do-Not-Call Registry, direct mail is being reconsidered as a viable medium by many who had thought of abandoning it. Of course, those of us who understand the strategic value of direct mail have never thought of it as not viable.

The Power of Referrals
January 1, 2004

How your customers can add extra profits to your bottom line A number of years ago, I was the marketing manager for a well-known book club. Twice a year the direct marketing department met with the president to review accomplishments and plans for the next marketing season. During this meeting, we shared the results of our programs and campaigns—direct mail, magazine advertising, package insert and member-referral. He looked at the line-by-line profit-per-customer acquired of each marketing initiative and declared, “Let’s do more of the member-referral program.” Those of us in the direct marketing division chuckled to ourselves. There were, after all, only so many

When Pigs Fly - Creative Ideas I’ll Never Do Again
June 1, 2003

EDITOR’S NOTE: This contest ended in 2003. When I was a girl, my grandmother was a font of strange expressions. For instance, I was shy and when I didn’t speak, Granny would ask, “Cat got your tongue?” We didn’t have a cat but my friend did and, being very literal-minded, I wondered if it would leap up and bite my tongue off. Every now and then my dad would mull over some business problem and Granny would advise him to “take the bull by the horns.” Dad worked in New York City where, as far as I knew, there were no bulls, and if

Get the Envelope Opened!
September 1, 1998

The envelope is the first place to start when considering testing. Why? Every recipient sees it—and it affects whether recipients ever get to the rest of the mailing. It is also a relatively easy test. Additionally, there are many different types of envelope tests to try. Here are a few to consider. Teaser copy "The outer envelope is the headline of direct mail."—Ed Nash One technique used to geet a prospect to open the envelope is to entice them to want to know more. Teasers do just that. This technique has been successfully used by publishers to whet the reader's appetite to not