Personalization With Seasonal Appeal
A present? For me? This is the response Qwest Communications International, a multimedia communications company, hoped to garner from its customers when it sent out a little, blue self-mailer that looks just like a presentonly perhaps a little flatter (Archive code# 808-476112-0411B).
This "holiday catalog" effort, which landed in the Who's Mailing What! Archive in November, touts the "Qwest Holiday Sale," the cover swathed in a printed, seasonally appropriate theme of snowmen, bows and snowflakes, all wrapped up neatly with an image of a shiny, gold bow. Along the bottom is the message:
Special offer for [XXX XXX]
Home and wireless phones on one bill, for one low price.
On the flip side, or the address face, is the message:
We've got a special gift for you inside.
Pictured below this personalized message is a preview: an image of one of the recipient's address labels with a green bow design. On opening the mini-catalog, Qwest customers are greeted with a note from the vice president of marketing and a picture of Mary, a happy Qwest customer, carrying some holiday presents.
A note directs readers: "Your labels are under the flap."
According to Carey Madsen, spokesperson for Qwest, "This time of year is notoriously heavy for mail volume. In order to break through the clutter, Qwest wanted to provide customers with a single-source direct mail piece that not only features our products and services, but also provides a 'little surprise' that customers would find useful." This tabbed, 6" x 9" effort unfolds to reveal said surprise: a sheet of 20 holiday-themed address labels.
Unlike most label efforts, these self-adhesive address stickers are not on a perf-off sheet, nor are they floating about freely in the mailing. Extravagant as it may seem, they're glued onto the same stocka hefty 100 sheetas the rest of the mailing cover. And, as it turns out, this design made the production process easier. Since "the process was executed inline, we were able to actually save the insertion step associated with envelope mailings," says Madsen.
The Qwest mailing was produced on a six-color Heidelberg M600 heat-set offset-web printer. "The labels were created using removable adhesive and UV undercoating to provide release with an inline 'kiss-cut' die-cut," she says. The kiss cut allows the vinyl to be cut with the die shape, but not the backing. So essentially, the sheet of labels was created from a separate press ribbon, but then adhered to the same paper stock as the rest of the cover.
As holiday-themed address labels are a precious commodity for those who mail out seasonal cards, they almost definitely will be saved. And to keep the labels (without spending an inordinate amount of time cutting), the customer presumably would keep at least the cover, if not the entire Qwest mailing effort. To ensure the offers remain top of mind, on the cover fold-out page opposite the labels is an 800 number "for a free account review anytime."
While Madsen is not at liberty to share the numbers, she says, "The response has been very encouraging, from both a qualitative and quantitative perspective." This effort reaches out to customers on a more personal level by not only addressing them directly, but by giving them a gift when they might need it most.