Secrets of the decade's most successful controls.
Prevention magazine proved that more is better when it comes to premiums: Its bookalog control enticed prospective customers with not one but 10 reports on healthy living. And, these premiums took center stage; Prevention displayed all 10 report covers on either the back or front cover of its winning self-mailer.
It's important to note that quite a few of the Grand Controls are from fundraisers, a group that relies heavily on freemiums and premiums to generate response. But, the chicken-or-the-egg philosophy could be at work here—perhaps more fundraising efforts hold onto control status because they use such incentives.
Envelopes Trump Self-mailers
While neither the Grand Controls nor the general mail stream can claim a preponderance of self-mailer efforts, the Grand Controls feature fewer postcards, magalogs, bookalogs and other envelope-less formats.
Self-mailers accounted for only 14 percent of all Grand Control mailings, compared to 25.9 percent of all other non-catalog mail received by the Archive in the past decade.
Professional voucher discount efforts are much to blame for the drop in self-mailers. Their number has grown in the Grand Controls, while double postcards practically have been put out to pasture. A few hang in there, from niche magazine titles that can't make the price-oriented voucher approach work for them.
Another interesting note is that the publishers using billboard efforts can't beat them; Smithsonian, Islands and PC World all have been mailing such controls for a decade or longer.
The range of envelope formats used by Grand Control winners runs the gamut, from #10 and #11 to 6˝ x 9˝, 6˝ x 11˝, 9˝ x 12˝ and many other non-standard sizes.
Slight Preference for Contests
Without a doubt, mailers shrank from sweepstakes and contests after Congress enacted tougher legislation regulating these promotions in 1999. But these response-building tools are still a viable way to add excitement to many a direct marketing offer.