Archive Observations: The Power of Choices
With the recession and credit crunch in full swing in November, it didn't seem very likely that credit card marketers would be all that enthusiastic about offering customers, or prospects, a wider variety of choices. Yet, two offers that popped up in the mail show that some were, indeed, quite willing to be flexible. Capital One's letter to a "valued customer"-mailed in a 4-1/2" x 9-1/2" OSE with a "DATED MATERIAL" notice on the front-puts the ball firmly in her court. It simply notes that she is eligible for upgrades to her card account, and directs her to a toll-free number "to tell us which free upgrade option is best for you": more rewards, lower APR or other improvements. No reply forms, buckslips or brochures were used in the crafting of this message (Archive code #550-329024-0811).
An offer by RBS takes an opposite tack. A "valued customer" was pre-approved for another MasterCard, but given their choice, as the back of the #10 mailer promises, of one that "best meets your needs." That's four choices, to be exact. The letter breaks down the specific benefits of each card option, such as the promotional purchase and balance transfer APR, cash back earnings and rewards points. A two-page, three-panel brochure opening to 8-1/2" x 11" prompts the customer to "choose the card that fits your lifestyle," and helpfully suggests what type of person is ideally suited for each card, based on the features of each card (Archive code #540-701081-0811).
Three mailings by nonprofits in November illustrate the importance of trying something different to stand out from the pack, especially when mailing to past donors. From the Helen Woodward Animal Center, an animal rescue, we saw, for the first time, a brown bag mailer, or "doggie bag," to be precise. Over the past twenty years, this package format has been mailed almost entirely by soup kitchens and homeless shelters. It's a good way to illustrate the connection between food in a bag and the specific needs of the organization to provide meals. In this instance, HWAC says that a donation, especially during the economic crisis, really helps fill the food bowls of their animals. To further drive home the point, a photo of a dog and cat with pleading eyes and a bowl has been lasered onto the front of the 5-1/2" x 11" bag mailer. It's such an obvious good fit of format and message that one wonders why it hasn't come up until now (Archive code #610-706340-0811).