Premium Watch: Telecommunications
Whether the economy is floundering or prospering, premium usage remains pretty steady throughout the mailstream. For the telecommunications sector, however, premiums have been employed less and less since a high point in 2005, when 36.3 percent of this sector's direct mail efforts included a premium offer (as measured by our Who's Mailing What! Archive). Each year since, premium usage has slipped-by 14 percent in 2006, 22 percent in 2007 and then 28 percent in 2008, which clocked in at less than half the premium usage percentage of 2005.
The silver lining is that when premiums are used, they are increasingly relevant to what a prospect may want, such as cash back, new high-end cell phones or BlackBerrys, and maybe even contract buyouts.
Peeking through the large window on the 6" x 9" outer, the copy from AT&T Communications reads, "talk all you want and enjoy cash back too" above three precise offers, the last of which says, "up to $200 cash back." After the cash-hungry prospect rips open the envelope, a page that looks more like an e-mail promotion than a direct mail letter greets her. Huge copy screams, "talk is cheap, cash back is priceless." Two services are then touted, followed by the promise that she can get $200 cash back when she switches to AT&T "and choose other qualifying services" (Archive code #808-171624-0903A).
AT&T's smaller package, a #7 envelope that teases "a special offer for you" on the outside, contains the most material inside. Sent to an existing customer, a full-fledged letter and four-color brochure are all about thanking him and "giving you the chance to add an additional line of service." In a blue-shaded box at the top of the letter, the premium is listed: "Free Nokia 2600," along with free shipping and details about the phone (such as Bluetooth and camera) plus a customer code and deadline. That premium offer is articulated in the first paragraph, which explains that the camera phone will come free after the prospect activates an additional line of service (Archive code #808-171624-0903B).