Direct Mail Spotlight: The Other, More Responsive Youth Market
When direct mailers discuss the youth market, often it's with a hint or more of frustration and confusion. Will teenagers and college students respond to direct mail? Do they only care about the electronic way of marketing?
But there's another so-called youth market: young mothers, especially those with children less than 6 years old, and expectant mothers. Philadelphia-based direct response agency Schultz & Williams, which works with metropolitan zoos across the country, realized early on that this was the market to tap for its spring campaign for the Toledo Zoo. "We test ages," says Jessica Harrington, vice president at Schultz & Williams. "People age out of the zoo. And the oldest child often dictates the parents' purchasing decision." Meanwhile, the prenatal market is promising because many expectant mothers make purchasing choices for their children-to-be. "It's a dream of a new parent to take their kid to the zoo," Harrington says.
That dream is brought to immediate life on the #10 outer that depicts simple drawings of four happy children holding baby animals. On the bottom, it then gives mention to the word that all young parents want to hear: "affordable," as in "Join your Zoo and SAVE on a full year of affordable family fun!" (Archive code #576-717676-0905).
Precisely targeting these young mothers and young families, in early May the Toledo Zoo mailed 400,000 efforts in the Toledo, Ohio area. It coupled the mailing with e-mail, from lists that were both prospects and lapsed members, just as the mail was going to hit. A second e-mail is sent just as the discount is ending, and then a third e-mail is sent to new members for an offer to family and friends to join at the same discount.
"We've been working with the Toledo Zoo for 20 years, but this is the first year that we're doing an integrative campaign with them," states Harrington. So far, the results have been overwhelmingly positive. Eleven weeks into the campaign, the mail is getting a 2.1 percent response, 2 percent for e-mail and the average gift is $58. "It's already made $480,000—60 percent over where they were last year in terms of revenue," says Harrington.