Publishing mail is a consistently strong player in the Who’s Mailing What! Archive, and so far in 2007 takes up 5.7 percent of the mail. While the voucher package remains dominant, some mailers experimented with new formats and cross-promotions; a few, meanwhile, stuck with old controls that apparently still produce adequate numbers.
Medical Economics went with the unseen, especially in publishing mail, double-postcard for its new format. With a great teaser—“Can you be sued by a patient you never saw?”—on the front of the 6˝ x 9˝ card, the flip side gives the answer (“yes”) and then explains in one short paragraph why prospects, mostly doctors, should subscribe: “We bring you the information you didn’t get in medical school.” Besides the format, the biggest gamble is that no price is mentioned and the only response channel is to go online (Archive code #205-368391-0707).
Another publication using a postcard mailing was USA Today’s Sports Weekly, which employed a 4-1/4˝ x 6˝ triple postcard. On the mailing’s back, it personalizes by thanking the prospect in big bold letters for subscribing. Unfolding the package reveals a response card to “let us know how we are doing,” apparently in an effort to simultaneously improve and promote its customer service. Otherwise, two separate, small notes thanking the prospect are provided from the editor and customer service director, with their photos (Archive code #720-691966-0707).
The Wall Street Journal sticks with a voucher format, but uses its bookmark freemium to lead off the sales letter: “Use the enclosed bookmark to keep your place in whatever fiction you’re reading …. Use The Wall Street Journal for trustworthy business news ….” While that lead can be criticized as somewhat weak, WSJ makes another curious decision by not closing the letter, especially since it personalizes with “Dear …”; instead, it cross-promotes its sister publication, SmartMoney magazine, at the very end of the letter perfed to the reply form, which then gives a box to check if the prospect wants SmartMoney for $1 for one year (Archive code #255-171652-0707).