Creating Virtual Ladies With Stubby Pencils
We put as much effort into Transmittal Letter Number 7, 17, 27, 37, load-up and bounce-backs—word-for-word, page-for-page—as we put into the four-, five- or six-page letters in our full-dress packages that brought these same subscribers into the program.
Incidentally, Decker’s letters are not necessarily “personalized”—that is, with the name of the recipient included in the copy. But they’re perceived as personal—one writer talking to one reader in a personal, conversational way.
Does this attention to back-end detail payoff? Completion rate for an average Stamp Collectors Society of America series over a three-year period was around 50 percent, and many of their customers bought more than one series.
To get a fix on average completion rates on a long continuity series, we called Grolier Enterprises, who sell a ton of the things, and asked what percentage of starters—on average—complete any given series. There was a long pause on the phone. Back came the reply. “According to an informal office consensus, 16 percent.” Consultants Paul Goldberg and Andrew Svenson agreed, estimating from 16 percent to 25 percent
In continuity marketing, the profitability of 50 percent completers versus 25 percent completers is exponential.
Decker and Kelly achieved what every business should aspire to. They made the customers believe that they were being lovingly taken care of—not by an impersonal computer—but by individual “ladies with stubby pencils.”
Click on chart to enlarge.