The numbers are kind of staggering. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 24 million Americans have diabetes, the chronic disease in which the body has a high blood sugar level. That's bad enough for the CDC to call it an epidemic, especially as the numbers have been rising over the last 10 years.
However, rather than using fear to motivate action, many marketers have based their calming appeals on a desire for better health, and explaining how patients can take charge and manage their condition. What immediately stands out about many of these mailings is the copious use of the magic marketing word, "FREE."
Liberty Medical Supply focuses its efforts on Medicare recipients, the largest group of diabetes patients: "FREE METER plus a New Limited-Time Offer" (Archive code #397-690827-0801) reads one teaser. Inside the 3-3/4" x 9-1/4" envelope, the letter provides gentle reassurance: "Liberty makes things easier by working directly with Medicare and handling all your claims forms for you." To "sweeten" the offer to the prospect, there's the aformentioned free meter, as as well as a subscription to a diabetes magazine, with tips and information.
In another effort, the company addresses the economic concerns of Medicare beneficiaries. "[E]very little cost can add up ... and many people are cutting back," the letter begins. "But when it comes to your health, you don't have to." It then spells out the benefits of becoming a customer, including low costs, free shipping, extensive support and no paperwork. Besides the free meter, the patient can get a free Physicians' Desk Reference guide to prescription drugs, an important incentive to the senior citizen population (Archive code #397-690827-0903A).
Another supplier, CCS Medical, also focuses on the importance of costs. Its 6" x 8-1/4" self-mailer, with a perfed BRC, also promises a free monitoring system, and savings of almost 15 percent on testing supplies "compared to retail pharmacy." To further set itself apart from brick-and-mortar drugstores, it also highlights mail order's convenience, free shipping, and no paperwork. (Archive code #397-716636-0906)
Yet another testing supplies provider, AmMed Direct (Archive code #397-717836-0909), differentiates itself by explaining, in great detail, how the company helps people deal with the disease. It's no surprise that the free cookbook and other elements of the "Better Care Program" are spotlighted in big red type on the outer panels. The 6"x8" self-mailer then opens to 6" x 26". On the inside, across 4 of its 5 panels, is a letter in Courier typeface. After opening with a brief mention of the exclusivity of its program, the letter describes its benefits, placing them in an emotional context: "helping make your life with diabetes easier, safer, more relaxed and self-assured."
Because many diabetics suffer from poor circulation, which can lead to foot problems, Diamedix offers an in-home shoe-fitting service. Its 5-1/2" x 8" self-mailer makes the senior customer aware that Medicare can pay for special shoes. On one panel, it spells out the steps needed to do so, "as easy as 1, 2, 3." A starburst on the address panel calls attention to another gift, a free pair of diabetic socks (Archive code #397-717832-0909).