Is It Too Volatile for Bold Statements?
As of publication time, leading economical groups were declaring the United States to be in a recession.
Only weeks ago the former president George Bush told attendees to the 84th Annual DMA Conference that the tools were in place for economic recovery, and that a recession was not likely.
On the bright side, economists also are predicting that the recession will last until only mid-2002but can anyone really know what will happen?
What a headache it must be right now for marketers of financial magazines and newsletters. These publications routinely make economic predictions in their direct mail efforts, but the current climate might not lend itself to any bold pronouncements.
Of course, accuracy is often in the eye of the beholder when it comes to the financial publishing arena. People typically pay for what they most want to hearnot always what is actually happening in the marketplace.
Several direct mail packages from the September mail drop stopped us; some because they were so aggressive, and others because they seemed to head to safer ground.
For example, one magalog that put it all on the line is from KCI's Personal Finance. The riotous cover on this 20-page self-mailer daringly declared that consumers and businesses can forget about recession (270PERFIN0901X). Inside, the copy is less inflammatory, being balanced by statements that position the newsletter as the best advice when the market is "chaotic, confusing, or just plain nutso..."
While the timing seems bad for the launch of a newsletter, the magalog for Forbes/Andrew Seybold's Wireless Outlook just might catch attention for the fact that everything wireless is a hot topic right now (270WIROUT0901). The opening-page letter from Steven Forbes lends a touch of celebrity to the effort, and the strong half-price discount is promoted on the cover.
The latest version of the control magalog for Louis Rukeyser's Wall Street plays it safe with the headline, "What the Millionaires of 2010 are Investing in Now."
No grand-standing in this piece; instead, the copy focuses on Rukeyser's reputation over the long haul and the quality of the stock picks featured in each issue from Wall Street's best (270LORUWS0901). The three trends outlined in this effort certainly were not affected greatly by the September terrorist attacks or the weakening economythey're long-term trends.
Value Line Investment Survey takes a similar approach by sticking to what has worked best for years for this financial investment newsletter. The 9" x 12" envelope package displays right on the front of its outer envelope the publication's favorable performance against the Dow Jones® Index, and lures intrigued prospects inside with the tease of a $55 offer (270VALLIN0901X).
Since most investment newsletters are priced much higher than $55, we figured this could not be for a full-year subscription. Actually, it's for a 10-week trial subscription, after which the subscriber can continue for a full year (52 issues) at $570, with the initial $55 credited back.
Believe it or not, the September mailing from a financial investment publication with the most longevity involves a sweepstakes. It's been about eight years since we last reported on Worth magazine's "Worth Sweepstakes."
In 1994 the control for this offer was a 6" x 11" grey envelope package, with Peter Lynch plastered all over it. Lynch was part of the grand prize package, which included $50,000 and dinner with the respected advisor to pick his brain for investment advice on your winnings.
The "New Worth Sweepstakes" no longer involves Lynch; instead, this 9" x 12" envelope package encloses a booklet of the top financial advisors in the country, from whom the Grand Prize winner can choose (205WORTHM0901). The prize is still $50,000, but early bird returns qualify the winner for an extra $25,000 now.
Eight years and still kicking with a sweepstakes offer. In a soft economy, we can expect to see more contests in 2002so Worth won't be alone for long.