An Alternative to the Voucher Package
Because voucher packages have been under increased scrutiny (both legally and in the seemingly endless back-and-forth debate among mailers as to whether or not they work), Ellen de Lathouder, vice president of creative services for Meredith Corporation, publisher of More magazine among other titles, offers up this suggestion for subscription acquisition efforts: Focus solely on what you’re selling, not on format.
As is evidenced by More magazine’s glossy, full-color mailings—each heaped with sneak peeks at its content—de Lathouder follows the line of thinking that maximizing the benefits of the product ensures it can and will speak for itself. “I, personally, would rather sell the product … long term, you get a better customer and a better pay-up because they know what they’re getting. The voucher package has a hard time doing that just by [its] nature,” she explains.
To effectively accomplish a more fleshed-out package, de Lathouder maintains that a healthy combination of style and substance will help to remove any ambiguity from the direct mail campaign and lead to greater customer satisfaction down the line. The straight-shooting alternative she proposes, “ … should mirror the benefits and advantages of the product in a visual way,” she says. For example, in a recent acquisition mailing from More magazine, the theme “Act Your Age” is demonstrated by glossy photos of women over 40 being themselves and having a ball—images that are in keeping with the magazine’s overall mission statement that life just keeps getting better as the years go by.
And while it’s a good idea for mailers to feature their product in the best possible light, she does caution that they do so in a real way, so as not to raise prospects’ expectations, only to have a disappointed reader later. “The editorial process should be right on so that when they receive the product, they say, ‘This is what I wanted.’”