4 Signs of the Voucher's Evolution
If there's a subject that gets most copywriters, especially those who write in the squeezed publishing sector, fired up, it's vouchers. Simply put, most hate them because these "is it a bill?" mailers have replaced many full-blown acquisition or retention packages that used to be their bread-and-butter work. It's not just that jobs have been taken away, they say, but also the meaning of their work, as so many publications are, in essence, sending a much less impressive representative now—the lowly voucher.
However, slowly but surely, the voucher is evolving and, in some cases, starting to resemble the standard publication effort. Before getting into why this evolution is happening, it's important to acknowledge the traditional voucher's strengths. "The old voucher had a lot going for it, including brevity," says Ruth Sheldon, a New York-based copywriter. "You can see the offer in nanoseconds. You know what you're saving and what you're spending without wading through lots of ancillary material in the traditional full-blown package."
"Yet it's very difficult to tell a magazine's story with a voucher, which is precisely why this format is 'evolving' into a traditional package with more enclosures, more copy and more design," explains Elaine Tyson, copywriter and president of Tyson Associates in Brookfield, Conn. Here are four signs of the voucher's evolution.
1. Traditional vouchers are starting to fatigue
Did I hear a giant "it's about time!" chorus from thousands of copywriters just now? "The voucher has definitely evolved over the past six or so years, with marketing managers always looking for the next breakthrough for when the traditional voucher will inevitably fatigue," describes Sheldon, who has 25 years of experience writing subscriber acquisition and retention packages for more than 80 consumer and B-to-B publications.
2. Less is no longer more
"The voucher has evolved, starting with the inclusion of a buckslip insert and more copy, and I've now seen a few with additional inserts and more graphics on the outer as well as inside components," says Tyson, who has worked in and for the publishing industry for more than 40 years as a circulation pro and copywriter, and her company manages circulation for 22 magazines.