A Reason to Respond
In an article on multi-buyers in last month's issue, consultant Gary Hennerberg made a comment that stuck in my brain ("Want Multi-Buyers? Cultivate Them!," Inside Direct Mail, March 2002, p. 1). He said: "It's our job to suggest how the product might be used if we want to get sales." When I came across the following efforts in the January mail stream, Gary's point was driven home.
First up, a retail traffic builder from furniture company Raymour & Flanagan presents prospects with an unusual incentive to stop by the store (910RAYFLA0103). Rather than drop prices lower to compete with every other retailer offering sales right now, Raymour & Flanagan tempts prospects with a reason to believe in this particular sale: an employee family discount.
Usually, this type of offer is reserved for the store's employees, but this mailing extends the deal to "a select number of our most important customers." To authenticate the offer, the store includes a ticket-style coupon that permits admittance to the store during the hours of the sale. Exclusivity is further conveyed in the one-day only, five-hour limit. It's a good idea, so long as Raymour & Flanagan maintains exclusivity by collecting the tickets at the door during the sale night.
Another smart move is GMAC Mortgage teaming up with GE Casualty to offer its Job Loss Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance plan to GMAC mortgage holders. When the news headlines are filled with plant closings and layoffs, job security is paramount in everyone's mind.
While GE Casualty could take a random approach to offering mortgage protection insurance to Americans, it makes more sense to partner with prospects' mortgage companies for an implied third-party endorsement. And to GMAC's credit, it put this (personalized!) insurance application in with customers' monthly mortgage bills. What better time to spur customers to think about mortgage insurance than when they are paying their bills, and more aware of their monthly financial burden?
Finally, Who's Mailing What! Archive Co-Director Paul Bobnak noticed a new type of offer in the financial services sector. Fleet Bank's Instant Advantage Advance is part loan and part credit carda truly strange deal, for sure (540FLEBAN0103D). How it works: The prospect calls Fleet's order processing center and requests activation of the live cash advance check. Upon approval of credit, the check is activated for deposit into the prospect's bank account. The full loan amount is available immediately, and a Fleet Platinum (or Gold) credit card will be issued. The loan can be paid off in 60 monthly installments or earlier.
Both the loan and the credit card feature a fixed 9.99-percent APR; the exceptions are a cash advance APR of 19.8 percent and a default/closure APR of 23.99 percent. The "insta-loan" is for $3,635, and monthly payments are listed as $77.21no secrets before prospects accept the cash. It's an interesting way of making a loan, with the exciting lump-sum availability, while tying it to a credit card offer. No mention is made of what happens after the loan is repaid, but I'm sure Fleet Bank keeps the credit flowing.
If the same old offers are working for you, don't knock 'em. But it might be worth a look around to see what could kick up better response.