Blockbuster Direct Mail
Premiums and Freemiums Work
The biggest predictor of success between long-term controls and those that burn out within two years can be boiled down to one word: gifts.
Grand Control winners offered premiums or freemiums in their efforts nearly 400 percent more often than their general mail counterparts. Specifically, 44.7 percent of the Grand Controls used such incentives as name and address labels, special reports, tote bags, plush animals, flower bulbs, stickers, calendars, and calculators to drive response. Only 9 percent of the regular mail stream contained efforts that featured this technique.
Prevention magazine proved that more is better when it comes to premiums: Its bookalog control enticed prospective customers with not one but 10 reports on healthy living. And, these premiums took center stage; Prevention displayed all 10 report covers on either the back or front cover of its winning self-mailer.
It's important to note that quite a few of the Grand Controls are from fundraisers, a group that relies heavily on freemiums and premiums to generate response. But, the chicken-or-the-egg philosophy could be at work here—perhaps more fundraising efforts hold onto control status because they use such incentives.
Envelopes Trump Self-mailers
While neither the Grand Controls nor the general mail stream can claim a preponderance of self-mailer efforts, the Grand Controls feature fewer postcards, magalogs, bookalogs and other envelope-less formats.
Self-mailers accounted for only 14 percent of all Grand Control mailings, compared to 25.9 percent of all other non-catalog mail received by the Archive in the past decade.
Professional voucher discount efforts are much to blame for the drop in self-mailers. Their number has grown in the Grand Controls, while double postcards practically have been put out to pasture. A few hang in there, from niche magazine titles that can't make the price-oriented voucher approach work for them.