Message & Media: What I Learned From P.O. Box 1857
During the months I collected AT&T mail pieces, I received one standard #10 outer envelope. Others varied in size from 6x9 to slightly smaller than a #10, along with two booklet envelopes with catalogs inside. All were repeated at least once. While most outer envelopes were white, others were pinstriped, blue and brown. Some were closed-faced, while others had one or two windows. Even the type of fonts used for addressing varied from appearing handwritten to sans serif. Change is engaging.
Takeaway No. 6: Urgency encourages action. Based on what I received, reply-by dates must work for AT&T. Ten mailings included the phrase "reply by," followed by a date. Two included the teaser "TIME-SENSITIVE INFORMATION ENCLOSED." And one used the phrase: "Hurry, Offer Ends Soon:" with a specific date. Limited-time offers with specific dates for response create urgency and encourage fence-sitters to get off the fence in direct mail, email and on the Web.
Takeaway No. 7: Call. Click. Visit. Every mailing I received offered three response options—call an 800 number, visit att.com or visit a local AT&T store. Every phone number and URL was different, to aid in source coding and tracking. The only thing missing was a coupon to take into the store. Because there was no option to respond by mail, I assume AT&T has tested and tracked customer preferences for responding, and mail is no longer one of them. This is important information to have, and it will most likely continue to change as new channels emerge.
As you can see, it pays to keep an eye on the mail you receive. Remember, the more times you see a mailing repeated, the more likely it's a winner. And we all like to learn from winners.