Linens-N-[Insert Your Store Here]
Last month, an insert for Columbia House DVD Club appeared in a Dell consumer catalog and another for Real Simple magazine turned up in a J. Jill catalog. We suspected this could be an indication of more things to come, and we were right. A Linens-N-Things welcome-to-the-neighborhood mailing arrived in the mailbox with two friends in tow: an insert for American Blinds, Wallpaper & More and an insert for Bellawood floors (910LINTHI0204).
The Linens-N-Things mailing (received by the Who's Mailing What! Archive in February) included a letter with a tear-off 20-percent-off coupon, and a "First Things FirstNew Mover's Checklist," which lists 72 items, from sheet sets, kitchen-drawer liners and bath accessories to extension cords, flashlights, batteries and night lights, that some consumers may not have realized this retailer sold.
While the checklist seems like an effective way to show prospects the range of products Linens-N-Things offers, it also is positioning the store as a resource to new movers. This idea ties into a major benefit of including inserts for such related, but noncompeting products, suggest Arlene Rosen, president of ARA Media Solutions (formerly Alternate Response Associates Inc.), and Myron Gould, direct marketing consultant from CRM Network and a direct marketing adjunct professor at New York University and Fashion Institute of Technology. "Having two other companies with products for the new mover ... strengthens their position in offering other services to the new mover. It helps Linens-N-Things become more credible in the eyes of the new mover," suggests Rosen.
Aside from credibility advantages and offsetting mailing costs, though, does carrying inserts for other stores carry an inherent risk of detracting
attention from Linens-N-Things' own offer? Not necessarily, suggest Rosen and Gould, as long as the host company ensures that its message is the focus of the mailing, such as Linens-N-Things' "New Mover Checklist," complete with full-color product images on both sides of the letter.
While Linens-N-Things wouldn't comment on the response to this mailing, Gould and Rosen suggest that there is another aspect of this package that adds to the likelihood of its success. "I've placed inserts into a couple of retail situations for clients. These placements were targeted to the young mom, new mom or expectant mom. In the case of the expectant mom, they were handed out at the time of a maternity-clothing purchase. With the young or new mom, they were [inside] product boxes on the shelves of the mass-market retailersTarget, Wal-Mart, Toys'R'Us. They all did well, because they were focused on a life event," explains Rosen. "The new mover is another life event where the recipient would be interested in retail and/or catalog companies that address [his or her] current needs."
So, could Linens-N-Things open its envelope to other inserts to become even more credible in the eyes of its prospects? "Linens-N-Things could probably go with four to five noncompetitive inserts/offers to add credibility to the package," says Rosen.
One note is that both inserts in the current package feature wording that names Linens-N-Things as a partner, such as "Linens-N-Things Partners With ... American Blinds, Wallpaper & More." Experts suggest tying in with the carrier is a major component of an insert's success.
With inserts showing up in both catalogs and envelope mailings in pretty rapid succession, it inspires a bit of wonder as to where they'll show up next.