Direct Mail Spotlight: The Economist
The mailing opens up to a six-page brochure with a BRE enclosed. The first page is a letter, detailing the discounted subscription offer, money-back guarantee and benefits of subscribing. The center spread, and focal point of the package, features five thumbnails of past issues, and each cover has a story about the impending economic crisis. For example, one cover from September 2006 shows a story about the dark side of debt and features a pull quote, "Public markets for raising and investing capital are plunging into the shadows" (Archive code #205-172583-0903).
A couple of sentences at the top of the spread explain how The Economist enables readers to be better prepared for changes with ahead-of-the curve reporting and insight in its monthly magazine. "One of the reasons we're a success is because we talk about things far in advance of anybody necessarily even paying attention to them. We were talking about America's housing crisis a few years ago ... and we had a correspondent talk about AIG back in 2002," Press comments.
The package is a test against a more businesslike #10 control package with a letter and reply. "This is an entirely new package, and it was so new and so different from our current control ... It's risky in a sense that it's not Direct Marketing 101 where you just change one thing and you're able to read the test, but it's kind of a breakthrough from things we've done before," Press shares. So far, the test is behind the control, but Press plans to look further at certain segments for which the new test format may have pulled a higher response.
Press says The Economist includes a landing page and offer code in most of its direct mail, and the URLs tend to pull about 20 percent of total response. In this test package, he's included a BRE to accept cash with order but says so far there hasn't been a lot of cash with replies.