Driving Sales Through A Premium Blend
Within the time span of just a few weeks, the Who's Mailing What! Archive received three Volvo mailings, each pushing the 2004 Volvo S80 and appearing to be exactly the samea sophisticated and attractive 6" x 9" sealed mailer that opens to a 5" x 7" sealed insert, with a personalized letter that folds out to reveal photos of the Volvo, advertorial copy and a reply card to redeem a premium upon purchase of a car (361VOCANA1003B).
There were, however, a couple differences. Each mailing contained copy
directed toward readers of different magazines, and the premium varied accordingly.
Volvo's specific targeting of magazine readers left us wondering if the high-class car manufacturer was steering in a new direction to drive up sales. And if so, what was its strategy and how many magazines were involved?
"We actually have seven mailings tailored for seven publications," says Jim Borsh, national advertising sales manager for Volvo, in Irving, CA. "Six of them are with Condé Nast."
He adds that 550,000 pieces were mailed between the seven booksGourmet, Bon Appetit, The New Yorker, Condé Nast Traveler, Golf for Women, More and Architectural Digestand explains that Volvo, as a traditional advertiser in these publications, wanted to attempt an integrated effort in order to reach out to one of its most rewarding audiencesaccomplished women over 40 years old.
"We initially approached Condé Nast and asked them how we could come up with something more integrated," he says. "They made their subscriber list available to us, we screened the list to target our specific audience based on household and geographic demos, and then tailored the editorial content and gift for each."
For instance, he says that the Gourmet mailings offered espresso makers, while The New Yorker pieces offered a set of framed The New Yorker cover prints.
As far as response, Borsh says it is too early to tell. "Until we receive documentation and conduct a sales match, we won't know the success of this campaign," he says. "But we are confident it will pull well ... we wouldn't have done it if we didn't have reason to believe in its effectiveness."
Borsh adds that this campaign does indicate an increase in direct mail efforts for Volvo, stating that the company is pushing toward more integration of marketing efforts overall. He also notes that the expense in the creative development of this high-quality, sophisticated mailing is well worth the investment.
"Volvo is a premium brand, and we feel that this premium needs to be reflected in everything we do. By going with a less expensive piece and lower-cost gifts, we felt our sophistication would have suffered in the process," he says. "One is always trying to make the best impression, and this piece offers that by being informative, involving and attractive."
Sharon Cole is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer serving the print industry.