The Shape of the Offer
Direct mail cost-cutting may be a priority for many marketing budgets this year, and there are three basic ways to do it: more efficient direct mail piece design, reducing mail volume and maximizing postage discounts. Here are some things to consider when trying to dial in on that first opportunity and optimize your mail piece design.
There are three basic shapes of mail in the U.S.: letter-size pieces, flat-size pieces and parcels. When it comes to campaign success, less expensive is not always the most profitable.
For example, don't write off more expensive parcels. One of the most effective direct mail campaigns I ever witnessed was a highly targeted, multi-mailing campaign using components that could only be shipped as parcels. The material to be mailed was very expensive and required custom production. However, as these mailings were in regard to large scale leasing, the cost was worth it—especially in light of the 100 percent response rate the campaign recorded.
Shape Shifting to Save Money
One of the easiest ways to save on postage and print is to shift from using flat-size mail pieces to those that qualify for letter rates.
Care must be taken with this approach. First, flats tend to have higher response rates. Depending on the shelf life of the piece, a flat is effective for occasional browsing and repeat use. Letter-sized pieces are generally used only to get attention. Not all mail campaigns can be easily shape shifted.
The typical laser letter offer is rarely as effective as a flat and not worth the additional costs. However, a retailer that usually employs flats may make effective use of letter-size self-mailers—perhaps a booklet. This can be done for the entire mailing, but is recommended as an occasional tactic and should always tested beforehand. Where it is most effective is when sent to existing customers once they have been acquired. Naturally, individual mailers results will vary.