Mailing Activity Highlights: Publications
Sifting through the publications sector in our Who's Mailing What! Archive, I came upon one voucher effort after the next, as usual. But this time around, many of these vouchers were not the plain Jane variety, with the dull discounted price and the boring bulleted benefit routine. No, many publications these days are opening their wallet a little bit wider to beef up these vouchers, in the hopes that prospects will respond in greater number.
Sports Illustrated recently changed up its voucher package radically, greeting the prospect with a huge window on the front of the 4" x 7-3/4" envelope (Archive code #710-171634-0903). This unseen variation—usually the large window tactic is reserved for the back of envelopes—shows a "To" and "From" field as well as a "Re:" field, almost like an e-mail. The "Re:" field says, "Special Offer for an NFL Fan." The right side uses the prospect's name and then lists six possible premiums, another highly unusual move: "Choose 1 of 6 Free Gifts with your paid renewal!" A reply-by deadline, more along the tried-and-true tactic line, is next.
The outer employs a red, white and blue, USA-colors approach, with the words "Rapid Response Renewal Service" running across the top. In other words, it looks like something official from the USPS, which may be effective. Inside, the voucher form offers very straightforward "instructions" in two columns labeled "Do This" and "Get This," which is a nice way of getting the prospect involved in the mailing and showing the benefits of a Sports Illustrated subscription. A brochure featuring the premiums also accompanies the mailing; pictures and description of each (athletic bag, radio alarm clock, thermal shirt, etc.) are included along with stickers that prospects are asked to remove and put on the reply form. In yet another unusual device, there's also a "no thanks!" sticker for subscribers who don't want the free gift.
Going out to "dead expires," Barron's also attempts something different with its voucher effort (Archive code #710-171882-0903). Comparing Barron's to one of the few names that still holds weight in this economic slump, Warren Buffet and his company Berkshire Hathaway, the teaser on the 4" x 7-3/4" outer reads "An $18 initial share of Berkshire Hathaway would be worth around $90,000 today" and "Some things are worth holding on to..." Insider, a voucher reply form is at the top as usual, but instead of benefits listed below, a short letter from the editor and president of Barron's is included.
Morningstar Mutual Funds' renewal effort tries to entice lapsed subscribers back with an overhauled #10 outer (Archive code #710-706343-0903). "We've missed you—and we want you back!" is in large type, and then three extra reasons to renew are listed on the right side, including "enhancements" to the newsletter, "online report service with extra content" and "special old-friends discount-save 45%!" Inside, the reply from is perfed to the bottom of a full-page letter from the editor on one side and neatly packaged descriptions about the online component and newsletter on the other.
Discover magazine goes with the steroid version of the voucher package, with a #14 envelope (Archive code #202-173818-0903). It also uses a roided-up teaser: "You're invited to enjoy a RISK-FREE invitation for the amazing, exciting, awesome magazine that really lives up to its name!" Inside, it's chock-full of components, including a two-page letter and a full-page reply form that includes a "RISK FREE" sticker to affix on the form—and it explains that the subscriber may cancel at any time and get a full refund. The package also includes a lift note from the editorial director entitled "About This Risk Free Invitation," a glossy four-color brochure and a yellow BRE.