Editor's Notebook: 2003 ... the Year of the Premium
The Inside Direct Mail editors have been thinking more and more about premiums lately. Particularly because we think we're seeing more of them in direct mail efforts than ever. To see if our hunch was correct, I used the Who's Mailing What! Archive's online database to do a little research.
My results turned up a steady trend of premium usage from 2000 through 2002. The percentage of mailings that featured a premium hovered around the 8.8 percent mark during this period. But then in 2003, premium usage took a big jump up, hitting a four-year high of 11.6 percent. That's a 33 percent increase.
What's behind this growing interest in giving away calculator clocks, messenger bags and pocketknives? The results from a recent poll on the Web site of Target Marketing magazine (a sister publication to Inside Direct Mail) might help explain. On the topic of direct mail response rates, 71 percent of poll-takers reported that response was either flat or weakening. Not quite a third could say they were receiving improved response to their efforts. How are marketers fighting this malaise? By improving their offersand a premium or freemium often is an easy way to sweeten a deal.
But response isn't the only thing marketers are hoping to strengthen. As Managing Editor Noelle Skodzinski discovered during her research of premium-based offers in the December mail stream for this month's Premium Watch, many marketers are leveraging giveaways to boost pay-upeven on acquisition efforts. It would seem that improved cash flow weighs heavily on the mind of marketing managers these days.
When it comes to premiums, we'd like to know what's on your mind. Over the years, we've served up practical information on premium usage in direct mail in a variety of waysand we are continually striving to expand our coverage of the information that helps you the most. Starting with this issue and continuing every other month, Premium Watch will feature an in-depth analysis of a current premium trend, coupled with a listing of some vendors that offer the goodies spotted. We hope you can you apply this insight to your direct mail-offer development. But perhaps you would find other types of information on premiums more beneficial?
Let us know how we can be your best resource on all things direct mailpremiums, formats, production techniques, etc.by contacting me at (215) 238-5437. Or, feel free to share news of any interesting premium trends you've spotted with Noelle; she can be reached at (215) 238-5435.
Until next month ...