PC World's Formula for Success
Since 1996, PC World magazine has been extremely successful with its sweepstakes mail campaign--a light blue, 8-1/2" x 11" posterboard with a personalized double postcard attached to the front (207PCWORL0100). Upon removing the postcard from its plastic pouch, the prospect finds the secret of how to win an Iomega zip drive printed underneath. The Grand Prize is $25,000 or a brand new Dell computer, complete with Pentium III multimedia system and many other features. Recently, the magazine also has added a bonus prize, rounding out the offering of first, second, third and fourth prizes.
These generous sweepstakes offers are surely enticing to consumers, but why has this seemingly normal poster mailing become such a huge success for PC World, especially when many other marketers have dropped it like a hot potato? It could be due in part to the fact that the magazine is the only direct marketer we can find to use a sticker on the poster itself, as well as on the double postcard.
Originally, PC World had used just a double postcard. But with the change in sweepstakes regulations, the circulation department approached its creative talent with the idea of a posterboard, because it had seen other magazines use it and the format would allow more room for sweeps rules and other copy. The designers added a sticker to the poster, and PC World received a whopping 40% net lift in response.
"Their idea was to add an additional action device with the sticker and put it on the poster," explains Shawne Burke Pecar, vice president of circulation. "We always originally had one token, and then part of the creative idea was to take advantage of the extra space and have an additional action device token."
Besides the two stickers, the postcard also contains a scratch-off prize. The combination of all these interactive devices makes the mailing more enticing, especially to computer enthusiasts.
Burke Pecar says PC World has tested many other sweeps and non-sweeps packages, but nothing can compete with the magic of the posterboard. She tried giving away a car instead of a computer, but that still could not generate as much interest. She has even tried the same mailing in different colors and an official-looking package, but response remains highest with the light blue poster.
PC World's only concern now with the mailing is fatigue. The magazine always updates the software that is being offered as prizes, but the design of the package remains the same. Despite the fact that this style has been floating around for four years, it seems people have not yet grown tired of receiving it.
"It's different," Burke Pecar says of the mailing. "I don't know why other people have stopped using the poster, but it just works for us. Nothing else comes close."