Direct Mail

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

Back With a Bangtail
March 1, 2004

Once-defunct cataloger Fingerhut—known for extending credit and goods to lower-income consumers—is back in the mailstream with its first continuity program since Federated Department Stores Inc. sold the company last year. Fingerhut customers were targeted in the fourth quarter of 2003 with a jewelry continuity program created by marketing services firm Holsted Marketing. Two sets of direct mail pieces went out in the second half of October, each to 50,000 people. Another 100,000 were sent via bangtails—offers on extra flaps attached to Fingerhut monthly remittance envelopes—in early November. “The idea [behind this campaign] was to define what products and offers work, and prepare for next

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