DM Spotlight: Consumer Reports
Throughout, more helpful, detailed information is dispersed for the readers to browse easily and digest at their leisure, strongly conveying snippets of what the magazine has to offer. "We believe one of the best ways to cultivate the customer base is to actually give them a sample of the product and the information that you're delivering, and that should win them over in itself," explains Darnow. "That's a philosophy we really employ around here."
What allows Consumer Reports to offer a sample of its copy encompassing so much detail on so many products lies in the trust the Consumer Reports brand garners in the marketplace, according to Darnow. Because of the organization's status as an "expert, independent nonprofit," Consumer Reports can let its content do the talking. This piece is more about giving the consumer information, not so much in selling subscriptions.
"We have a nice continuum of products the average consumer uses and relies on. And we put out important information in this promotion about those products," Darnow details. "Because of who we are and the nature of the products we test, we essentially can reach out to people across the whole product continuum and captivate their interest. At the end of the day, we like to think we can provide the consumer with new information they may not know about an existing product."
Though the organization is still evaluating the results, Darnow says it is a piece that he likes, incorporating many control components and test elements. No matter how the results fare, it's safe to say Consumer Reports will continue to rely heavily on its expert, independent and nonprofit mission to inform and empower consumers in all its direct mail campaigns.
The Useful Premium
The use of premiums can be a good or bad thing. It's a good thing if the premium is something people actually want or need. Conversely, it's a bad thing if it is of little or no value. With that in mind, Consumer Reports offers two highly desirable premiums in its "Learn these lessons at our expense ..." mailer: two Consumer Reports-published books-"How to Clean Practically Anything" and "Buying Guide 2009." "The power behind the combination of both of those premiums is that one tells you what we've rated best, and the other one tells you how to care for it and get the longest life," describes Roseanne Ippoliti, director of acquisition marketing and branding for Consumer Reports. "So it's all surrounding a value proposition that the product delivers."