Insert Media Is About to Explode
Insert media has come a long way from the time Len Holland, the grandfather of this medium, first began placing inserts for Popular Club Plan in the 1960s. Now there are package inserts, ride-alongs, statement stuffers, card packs, newspaper inserts (FSIs) and the increasingly popular blow-ins. What used to be called "alternate" media, has quietly gained more significance over the years, but without many direct marketers really taking notice.
With more than 1,500 insert programs on the market, many unique, non-traditional insert situations and billions of inserts being placed annually, doesn't insert media deserve to be considered mainstream? A newcomer recently asked one of the legends, who has been working in the insert area for 40 years, why these media are referred to as "alternative."
For those who have been working in this area for years, the progress was taken for granted. We accept the fact that major mailers place millions and millions of inserts annually, so why the sudden change in the status quo? Our new direction includes a much wider vision: a broader scope of advertisers; a major promotional effort; unified descriptions of insert programs; uniform insertion orders and contracts; uniform billing; and partnership marketing.
Giving Insert Media a Voice
As of the summer of 2002, insert media has a voice of its own, and a significant one. Here at the Alternate Response Council, we began raising awareness on a wider scale at the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) Annual Conference in San Francisco last fall. We had a cocktail party with about 80 people packed into a small suite—all with an interest in "alternate" media. The following Sunday morning at 10 a.m., we scheduled an open forum to discuss the future of insert media and the concept of a name change.
There were direct marketers from all phases of the industry voicing their opinions for a new direction that would define insert media on the basis of a description other than "alternative."