For telecommunications companies, the most efficient and profitable way to make money is getting prospects to buy bundled services, such as the popular cable-phone-internet package. That means either upgrading current customers, getting people to switch over from rival companies or tap into a larger-than-expected market of prospects who don't even have cable. Of course, the undercurrent is the economic hard times that so many prospective customers are experiencing, so the direct mail approach must strike the right notes to succeed, including promising that this bundle will confer both great benefits and savings for households.
Digging through the Who's Mailing What! Archive, with the help of Archive Director Paul Bobnak, an effort from Qwest floated to the top (Archive code #808-476112-0902C). On the plain 6" x 9" outer, a black strip runs across with white typeface that reads: "Enclosed: An important message for non-billionaires." The back of the envelope features a tree in the middle with money falling down from it. Underneath, the copy says, "You have a phone. A television. A computer. If you have also have a money tree, kindly disregard this letter."
Inside, the humorous tone continues, as the one-page letter features a goose laying golden eggs in the Johnson box, but then it cuts to the chase. "If you already have a goose that lays golden eggs, congratulations. However, if you could stand to save up to $25 every month on services you use every day, please read this." Right after the greeting, it acknowledges that you may not "have a lot of ‘disposable' income these days,' so Qwest can help bundle "best-in-class services like Qwest High-Speed Internet, DIRECTTV service and Verizon Wireless." Lastly, in a buckslip made to looks like a dollar bill, is an invitation to "add up your total monthly communications spending," with dollars, plus and equal signs next to blank lines that prospects are invited to fill in.
Similarly novel, AT&T Communications sent an invitational-style effort to prospects in an attempt to lure them away from competitors (Archive code #581-171624-0902A). The 5-1/4" x 7-1/2" blue outer uses personalized script, and then inside a Hallmark Business Expressions card greets the prospect. Featuring a teenage couple on the card, with the girl obviously annoyed by her boyfriend who is busy making his French fries look like teeth, its inside reads, "Sometimes you just know when it's over." The short letter continues in the same faux-handwritten type, "Dear [prospect's first name], Dump cable and fall in love with AT&T U-Verse! If you switch today ..." before listing a couple of benefits (such as being able to record four shows at once) and listing the calls to action: a special offer URL and toll-free number.
In this climate, of course, the bottom-line price can beat anything. Verizon offers a very low price ($17.99 a month, with two-year agreement, for its high speed internet), so the deal gets plastered all over its 6" x 9" self-mailer (Archive code #837-636770-0902A). Next to that offer, a faux-stamp in red says "GUARANTEED TO NEVER GO UP" that will get prospects' attention. If not, the "HURRY - OFFER EXPIRES 2/21/09" might. Inside, the benefits and positive review from PC Magazine are used to further entice prospects who may still have dial-up only.
Comcast uses a similar tactic in its 6" x 11" self-mailer that announces, "The price is right. The speed is awesome" (Archive code #837-176804-0902). Underneath those teasers, the offer is listed as "Comcast High-Speed Internet $19.99 per month for 6 months." And while Verizon trumpeted its "1 Mbps" speed to dial-up users, Comcast advertises its "blazing fast 12 Mbps" and "even faster speeds on the way!" It also shows appealing pictures of customers able to watch TV online, download music and watch Fancast.