Inside the Harvard Business Review Content Comes First (1,872
To achieve his objective, Cohen is testing a voucher package that contains an order form, BRE and the insert promoting the frequency change. The recipient's name and address is preprinted on the order form and peeks through the window of a blue, #10 envelope, thereby eliminating the cost of the control's three-way match.
The voucher package looks promising in terms of gross response, but Cohen is less optimistic about results on a net basis. "The conventional wisdom regarding the double postcard format also applies to the voucher format," Cohen explains. That is, to work, "your product must have a well-known name because the format provides little room for sell copy and cannot play on a person's emotional drivers the way a letter can," he adds. On the upside, the voucher format is less expensive to produce, and if it pulls even with the control mailing, it would equal significant cost savings.
Cohen continually tests to reduce costs and increase response. For example, having proven content premiums are more successful than tchotchkes, he is testing the delivery of the premium at the time of order vs. time of payment. So far the test is almost evenly split, but he will keep testing, says Cohen, adding that if it is able to pull better numbers with a premium on payment, it will decrease the number of premiums HBR has to print and mail.
As rising print and postal cost make mailing more expensive, HBR is looking to increase the number of orders coming in through other channels, and both e-mail and the Web are becoming increasingly viable.
Cohen has been using e-mail to market HBR subscriptions to the HBSP housefile for little more than a year. HBSP has a product buyer database that contains the names of customers who've purchased items from an assortment of HBSP business products, including newsletters, books, HBR article reprints and the Harvard Business Review, among others. After purging out HBR subscriber names, the remainder of the HBSP file is e-mailed a subscription offer.