Getting Past the Gatekeeper (646 words)
If reeling in consumers and convincing them to spend a few minutes on your offer is a challenge, then breaking through the perpetual activity of the average business person's day is a test of endurance. Fortunately for Day-Timer, endurance is one of the strongest features of its mailings.
A marketer of day planners, organizers and software, Day-Timer drops more than 40 million direct mail efforts annually and serves a housefile of over 1.7 million customers. The list is managed by Direct Media.
When a second's glance can determine the fate of a mailing, Day-Timer relies on the use of unusual formats and a little creative subterfuge to lure prospects into its efforts.
One particular stand-out, mailed in an outer envelope fashioned similar to an inter-office envelope, has proved its longevity as a strong, four-year control and Axel Award-winner. In fact, the envelope is really the star of this mailing; its sole purpose is to get the package past assistants and into prospects' hands, confirms David Weitner, director of marketing.
The first version received in the Who's Mailing What! archive in 1993 used the kraft-like outer envelope for camouflage and included a letter, brochure and an order card. Missing from this effort was the sample planner that shows up in later packages.
The next modification was a test of this package without offering a premium, but the Archive's records show that the premium's appeal is mighty as the next 13 times it appeared in the mail library it was always accompanied by the promise of some gift with order. In fact, Day-Timer consistently uses the premium with order in nearly all of its efforts to entice prospects. It also ties the premium to a deadline to quickly drive in orders.
In 1994 and 1995, Day-Timer continued to roll out the inter-office control but the packages were fuller now, carrying a single-page letter with a yellow, sticky note attached to the front, a pocket-size sample planner, a four-color, multi-folded brochure, a four-color buckslip and an order card with detachable business reply card.