True to form, mailings in the insurance sector didn’t stray too far from what’s worked in the past. The March mail in the Who’s Mailing What! Archive demonstrated the power of control packages, some of which have been successfully circulating since 2000. On the other hand, a couple of insurance mailers offered unusually high-end sweepstakes prizes within flashy, especially for insurance direct mail, packages.
In the general control region, Gerber Life Insurance Company had two, one geared toward children and the other, adults. The former asks on its #10 envelope outer, “Isn’t it worth $1 a week … to give your child a more secure future?” Inside, it follows up on that theme with a brochure that again asks a question that has only one right answer—an answer that may lead the prospect to Gerber Life. In this case, the brochure explains that for the “same” price, you can either hand your child a few new toys or the Grow-Up Plan. The cover letter further spells everything out, including blue highlighted text, and uses an involvement device of a small sticker that, once attached to the application, will earn the prospect’s child a free Certificate of Welcome (Archive code #450-174448-0703B).
The latter Gerber offer mentions on its 6˝ x 9-1/2˝ outer that this is a “new ADULT life insurance plan,” and on the back of the envelope, says that its plan is “An EASY way to help secure your family’s future.” Using a similar strategy to the above effort with its brochure, which leads with the statement that almost 50 million Americans don’t carry “enough life insurance,” a question is again asked that may get the prospect to apply: “Are you one of them?” If the prospect is unsure, the brochure goes on to ask a few simple questions that make it clear whether or not he needs more life insurance (Archive code #450-174448-0703A).
Two other grand controls use a more traditional approach. Offering professional group and disability income insurance, General Agency elevates the #10 envelope into need-to-open territory with a “From the Office of” return address and a live stamp (rather than an indicia or metered postage). Could it be a check, or a lawsuit? You need to open to find out. Inside, it stays old-fashioned with its brochure and reply form, as well as a cover letter that emphasizes its long-standing history (Archive code #430-178470-0703).
Home Mortgage Group mixes some new in with the old. It uses the once-traditional 5-1/2˝ x 8-1/2˝ envelope with two long, horizontal windows. While one window simply shows the prospect’s address, the other relies on personalization, including using the prospect’s first name as well as his mortgage bank. A certificate-like blue border and “response due by” technique also are employed (Archive code #430-171744-0703).
AIG Travel Guard greets the prospect with three shiny white cruise ships in crystal-clear island water on its 6˝ x 9˝ self-mailer outer; on the inside, it says “bad vacations can happen to good people” and details its travel insurance and assistance programs, along with a “Create-A-Cruise giveaway” sweepstakes (Archive code #455-179427-0703). With its colorful 6˝ x 10˝ self-mailer, AAA Insurance focuses on a sweepstakes for a 2007 Ford Edge and a free $10 gas card for getting a free auto insurance quote—and uses only one inside page for a bullet-point list of AAA Insurance benefits. Can you say soft sell, with plenty of fuel? (Archive code #420-182432-0703B)
One to Watch: Geico
A high-volume mailer, Geico flooded the Who’s Mailing What! Archive with 15 efforts in the first quarter of 2007 and 21 in 2006. Most were standard issue, yet one from each quarter was from an affinity marketer: Montclair State University Alumni Association. Yes, you read that right: a university struck up an affinity relationship with Geico. Universities typically don’t enter into such affinity relationships with auto insurance companies, and Geico has done very little of this type of marketing—so it’s an unusual mailing in two significant ways (Archive code #420-171960-0703C).
The #10 envelope outer from Montclair State University Alumni Association gives no indication of its affinity partner, yet in big type advertises, “Special Discount Information Inside.” Indeed, in the cover letter from the president of the MSU Alumni Association, Geico is revealed to be that partner and it offers a “special member discount to MSU alumni who qualify.” According to the letter, that discount could add up to $500 in annual savings compared to other car insurance rates.
To find out the precise figure of that discount, the letter lists a Geico Web site to get a free rate quote, which can be had via a live online chat or a follow-up phone call. In addition, for more general information about the company, a Geico brochure is enclosed.