Archive Observations: More Resources For Human Resources
Among the many challenges faced by human resources professionals is the ability to keep up with a dizzying array of employment regulations and laws put in force by the federal and state governments. Fortunately, there are many companies in the marketplace that can provide this service.
In June, Personnel Concepts (Archive code #810-178848-0906) mailed an offer for a publicly-posted labor law notice, the Space-Saver 1 poster. Mailing in an official-looking #10 OSE, the one-page letter guarantees protection for up to $17,000 in labor law compliance costs and government fines.
An offer for a similar service by G. Neil (Archive code #810-172217-0906) warns on the front of the #10 outer that "New Family and Medical Leave Act Posting Deadline Has Passed." Inside, the offer for its Poster Guard Compliance Protection service includes a 100 percent guarantee against "any government fines for improper posting content." As further reassurance, the mailing includes a lift note that lists questions to ask of other possible providers, and a brochure that reaffirms the promise from the letter by further explaining how the service works.
The teaser on a #10 envelope pack from J.J. Keller (Archive code #801-178365-0906) has an irresistible offer: "Would you throw away a $299.00 gift that helps clear up FMLA confusion?" The letter confirms that the 400-page manual—a "practical FMLA reference that helps simplify this complex issue"—is indeed, free. Updates are not. But the company clearly feels that the value of the book to HR professionals will be so well-established that their loyalty (for updates and other products) will be ensured.
Laying The Groundwork for 2012
The next U.S. presidential election race has already started, and judging by the mail from the last few months, it looks like Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House, intends to be a major player. In April, for example, in a special campaign for the Young America's Foundation (Archive code #601-605060-0904), he writes of a crisis: "our country and the Conservative Movement are experiencing a Valley Forge." He urges the "friend of liberty" to make a gift so that YAF can "reach young people as early as possible."
Another one-off effort, for the American Conservative Union (Archive code #601-177067-0904B), attacks the U.S. Congress because it has "failed to address our dependence on foreign oil." Gingrich hits on several themes, national security and prosperity among them, and along the way, praises ACU for its support for "conservative values." As an incentive, he offers a copy of his book, "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less", for a $50 gift (autographed for a $100 gift). "Traditional values" come up again in his letter for Citizens United (Archive code #601-177354-0905), as Gingrich argues that "God should not be driven from the public square." And, again, he offers a premium; this time, it's his DVD, "Rediscovering God in America."
Perhaps Gingrich himself won't be a candidate for the Republican Party nomination. But in playing to the various factions of the conservative base of the party, and speaking to their issues, he will very likely have a substantial influence on the terms of the debate, as the party tries to move beyond its massive losses in recent elections.
Grand Control Update & Profile
Four more mailings became Grand Controls (controls in the mail for three or more years) in June, bringing the Archive's total number to just under 1,000. The newest honorees include: Smithsonian magazine (Archive code #202-171630-0906), Forbes magazine (Archive code #710-171654-0906) and AAA (Archive code #455-182432-0906).
An offer by 21st Century Insurance (Archive code #420-414995-0906) has been in the mail since at least March 2006, when it was mailed by AIG (21st Century's parent company since 2007). The double-window #10 Kraft envelope carries the logo of the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) on the front, as well as a teaser advising the target to get a free quote and a chance to win a car. Like most auto insurance offers, the letter inside notes the average savings its drivers enjoy by switching coverage ("$378.44 a year. Some save even more ...")
But it's the lift note by the association's president, Joyce Powell, that provides the strong emotional appeals, like exclusivity, flattery and fear. After observing that for many educators, auto insurance is a "significant portion of your household budget," she proudly claims that using the leverage of the 200,000-strong union has pushed the top companies to "consider the safe and responsible character" of its members. Besides the low rates and great services, she also lists the "benefits other programs simply don't offer," such as "no deductible for vandalism to your vehicle while on school property." Anyone can offer lower costs, sure, but benefits that appeal specifically to someone because of his profession and professional membership are fairly rare. A can't-miss incentive is the sweepstakes for a Saturn VUE Hybrid; the buckslip focuses on its benefits (e.g., "easy on the eye and the environment"), while only having one mention of the insurance savings.