AAA Has a Letter for Everyone
Sending out multiple mailings, each targeting a different motivation or psychographic, can mean costly list selects and increased production costs. Likewise, trying to create one mailing that targets the gamut of stimulants for all your prospects requires creative and copy finesse.
In November the Archive netted a unique #10 mailing from AAA Mid-Atlantic pitching AAA Plus to current members of AAA's basic membership plan that attempts to do both of these things (Archive code #525-182432-0411).
Recipients of the mailing are first met by a warning on the outer of two enclosed lettersone blue, one greengeared to recipients with cars made before or after 2000. Inside the envelope, prospects find two folded, perforated 81/2" x 31/2" slips. The first has the address box and a temporary, perforated AAA Plus membership card, and the other is a detachable AAA Plus member approval form. Along with a BRE and silver AAA Plus sticker is a 31/2" x 81/2" double-sided four-panel brochure that lists the benefits of AAA Plus versus basic membership.
Most intriguing, however, is the letter format used in the mailing. An 81/2" x 93/8" letter with white copy on a blue banner at the top of the page that reads, "READ THIS LETTER IF: your car(s) is model year 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004," is folded into a second, 81/2" x 81/4" green-bannered letter with copy that reads, "READ THIS LETTER IF: your car(s) was manufactured prior to model year 2000."
According to Brian Jennings, spokesman for National Mail Marketing Corp., the full-service direct mail company that created the mailing, the goal was to focus on the different factors that might motivate members to upgrade from basic service to AAA Plus. Because most letters need to flow in one main direction, they chose to use two letters so that they could focus on the two main drivers to upgrade. "We tried to identify what we thought would be the two major reasons for joining AAA," says Jennings, "and each letter
focused on the different reason."
The goals of both letters are clearand clearly differentfrom the first paragraph of each. The blue letter begins:
Since you own a recent model vehicle, chances are it's still protected under your manufacturer's warrantyorunder an extended warranty that you may have purchased. If so, and you worry about doing anything that might void that warranty, I urge you to upgrade your AAA Membership to AAA Plus ...
While the green letter starts:
Almost every day I talk to members like you who are hanging on to your cars, trying to squeeze out every last mile.
According to Jennings, the package, dropped in the 3rd Quarter of 2004, is a test against the current five-year control that uses one letter. The two-letter format also was sent out a few years ago as a new acquisition package for AAA Mid-Atlantic. Jennings says the two-letter approach is uncommon, and while National Mail creates many mailings for AAAs across the country, so far this mailing only has been tested for AAA Mid-Atlantic.
"We frequently test packages where we'll go for more than one approach, but it's a different package or a different test cell," says Jennings. "In this instance, we actually tried to do it where we approached two different thought processes in one test cell or one package."
Jennings says continued testing of the two-letter mailing has produced strong
results, but failed to beat the control. He remains confident, however, that with a little work and alterations here or there, the two-letter format can be a contender. "The idea shows some promise," he adds, "but right now it still needs to be tinkered with a little bit to get it ahead of the control."