Nuts & Bolts - Case Study: IIN Makes Good Investment
Challenge: Acquire subscribers.
Solution: Test new direct mail creative and copy in a multichannel campaign.
Results: Some Institutional Investor News titles saw up to 50 percent increases in ROI during the campaign.
The clothlike feel of the envelope and the calligraphic lettering of the address may cause recipients to stop and wonder for a second if anyone in the family is getting married. Flipping the envelope over, they realize the Park Avenue address of the sender completely explains the genesis of the sophisticated mail piece.
New York-based Institutional Investor News decided to test new upscale creative and copy during its mid-February through end-of-March multichannel subscription campaign. The publisher tasked Wayne, N.J.-based direct marketing creative and production services provider Ballantine Corp. with the creative, printing and mailing of the project.
"Since our news services provide niche audiences with exclusive content, we thought this mail piece appropriately expressed the premium image of our products," IIN Marketing Manager Laura Pagliaro says. "The live stamp and non-window outer envelope give the appearance of a formal invitation, rather than a marketing offer."
Without donning formalwear, recipients can rip open the 70-pound, Sundance Bright White Felt envelope—which they've by now noticed has, surrounding the italicized Lucida Handwriting typeface on the address, a PostNET barcode and a sequence number that matches that of the subscription "invitation" card enclosed, appropriately marked with the header "R.S.V.P." Then recipients are instantly greeted by the front page of a newsletter.
Wait, what? A 5" x 6.5" front page with a table of contents, headlines and the first couple paragraphs of a few news articles? Yes, the publisher enclosed a tiny, folded brochure example of the front page in prospecting mailings for nine separate newsletters sent to a total of 16,125 prospects.
"Since our brands are well known in their respective industries, the mini brochure with the newsletter cover was included to grab their attention, while also providing branding benefits," Pagliaro says.
Using the offer of a discounted rate to expired trialists and lapsed subscribers, the publisher followed up on the direct mail piece with two e-mails and a phone call per recipient.
Results varied depending on the newsletter, with prospects receiving offers for Compliance Reporter, Derivatives Week, Foundation & Endowment Money Management, Fund Action, Money Management Letter, Power Finance & Risk, Real Estate Finance & Investment, Total Securitization & Credit Investment or Wall Street Letter.
Institutional Investor News, which had "dramatically scaled back" its direct mail efforts in 2008, found the investment in this test worthwhile. Some of the newsletters saw return on investment increase by as much as 50 percent during the test.
"We're happy to report that we plan to test more direct mail campaigns in the coming months," Pagliaro says at presstime. "Since we haven't executed a direct mail campaign in quite some time, we will most likely use that mail piece as the control for future efforts."