File Under: A Mailing to Hold on to
If you imagine direct mail as an automobile driving your message to customers, what would it look like? Would it be flashy, with painted flames and spinning rims?
Though such a vehicle (much like mailings with glitzy inserts and loud copy) may turn heads, when a classic 1955 Chevy Bel Airsimple, yet sophisticatedrolls up, it's like a breath of fresh air.
American Home Shield (AHS), a provider of home warranty protection on major residential systems and appliances, recently dropped a 6" x 9" white carrier envelope with a special 30-day no-charge offer to Terminix customers (347AMHOSH0404) that packs that kind of punch. The mailing delivers an organized mini file customers can leaf through with ease.
Enclosed in the carrier, in addition to a 51/2" x 81/2" BRE, is a 53/4" x 81/2" horizontal saddlestitch booklet with an address window cut-out.
The front and back cover resemblein color, appearance and stock weighta mini manila file folder, with the AHS logo displayed on the tab.
Twelve pages of conveniently yoked creative that incorporates the lift note, buckslip, certificate-style order form, and other bells and whistles of the trade, the mailing employs copy, comparison charts, candid photos and a Q&A. This technique gives AHS more control over the order in which its message is presented as it guides the customer through the advantages of a home warranty.
"We have a product, [and] people really don't understand what the benefits are," says Mark Allen, vice president of customer acquisition and retention at AHS. "We wanted to create a mail piece that didn't look like a piece of typical direct mail but easily explained the benefits of our program. So as you flip through, you kind of get the story of what American Home Shield does and what the value proposition is."
Both the creative and copywriting were designed by integrated relationship-marketing firm Townsend Agency. To make the mailing clear and informative, Allen says the agency utilized feedback from customers to inject reality into the copy.
"We did a lot of customer research and surveys of customers trying to find out what questions they have about home warranties," Allen adds. "Based on the responses that we got from customers, we put that [information] into the direct mail piece to try and help [prospects] better understand how home warranty works."
Both AHS and Terminix are divisions of ServiceMaster, a provider of various residential and commercial services. According to Allen, this campaign is a "cross-marketing effort endorsed by Terminix" in which AHS is "leveraging the customer relationship."
According to Allen, the mailing was sent to Terminix customers in early April, but has been out in the mail to different lists (mostly those of mortgage companies) for the past eight months. This is the first test mailing that AHS is sending to Terminix customers, and early results, he says, look strong.
Sending this mailing to different lists, he says, has resulted in an astounding "40 percent lift" over the control, a figure that he claims has been validated several times.
Pulling in those kinds of results, this is a mailing both AHS and its customers should hold on to.