Editor's Notes: My Favorite Web Sites
In the course of story research, I spend a good deal of time on the Web every day. During my online travels, I’ve come across some wonderful resources that keep me up-to-date on terminology, the current consumer ethos and even postal rates. It recently occurred to me that you might find these sites helpful, too. In the spirit of sharing promulgated by Twitter and Facebook (but stopping short of oversharing), I open up my bookmarks list to you:
• www.trendwatching.com—Great for picking up on the global zeitgeist through free monthly briefings. More comprehensive reports and services available for purchase.
• www.whatsinyourpaper.com—The most straightforward, not-too-technical guidance on how to select paper for direct mail campaigns and more, with the environment in mind.
• www.rrdonnelley.com/wwwRRD1/Services/Deliver/PostageCalculators.asp—I confess to not using this download all that much personally, but I pass it around like popcorn on movie night. Turn to these easy-to-use Excel spreadsheets to get postage amounts, drop-ship discounts and net postage for a variety of mail classes.
• www.melissadata.com/lookups/index.htm—This is the place to get ZIP code maps, single address verification, income statistics, labor statistics and more. While some tools require a paid subscription, the cost is pretty affordable. And many lookup services are free.
• www.postcom.org—Trade association PostCom offers every access point possible to postal information, including daily news, current pricing tables, postal rate histories, links to Congress and even a primer on how bills become laws. Everything a direct marketer needs to represent its interests in the postal system is here.
• www.forrester.com and www.aberdeen.com—With Forrester Research’s acquisition of JupiterResearch late last year, it and competitor Aberdeen Group do a good job of covering core direct marketing topics. What’s more, both offer a decent amount of free research, especially Aberdeen. Tip: When you see a report you like, download it or save it immediately before it gets archived for paying customers only.
Looking for more? Turn to E-commerce Link, where columnist Reggie Brady joins in the fun with her favorite sites for online competitive analysis.