Alternate Media - What's Worth Testing? (777 words)
With the recently proposed postal rate increases of 6.4 percent by 2001 and changes in mail processing that could eliminate any hope for discounts offered for mailer worksharing, many direct marketers have found themselves looking for alternate ways to market their products and services in addition to traditional Standard A mailing. In fact, aside from postage increases, the CPM for solo direct mail rose steadily between 1994 and 1998, during which the cost to mail a control package increased $60, according to Capell's Circulation Report (spring 1998).
As a result of these trends, alternate media—with its cost advantages and targetability—could be the wave of the future.
Alternate media comes in many shapes and sizes. The type of mailer you are and your ultimate goal will determine which types are best suited to your needs as a marketer. Malcolm M. McClusky, president of List Services Corp., believes that in general, programs that have substantial monthly shipments—the ones which consistently generate new names month after month—tend to be the most popular programs. "Over the course of time, it is imperative to a program's success to be able to maintain a high volume," says McClusky.
Pricing is another consideration for any marketer thinking of turning to alternate media. Although alternate media in general costs less than solo direct mail, prices vary according to the individual types of alternative media, and that will have an impact on which type of media a specific marketer will choose. In general however, prices have remained unchanged since 1999, adds Nick Schellong, vice president, account manager at AZ Marketing Services.
Who uses alternate media? Typically, the majority are still direct mailers, according to Kathy Tofano, senior account executive for Leon Henry Inc. However, as dot-com companies emerge they seem to be making a natural leap to this kind of media to drive traffic to their Web sites.