Setting Sail on Customized MarketMail
In September, the Who's Mailing What! Archive received something of a rarity: a Customized MarketMail (CMM) piece sent by Sovereign Bank in the shape of a sailboat (Archive code #536-173493-0409B).
The oblong, bendable mailing's dimensions are modest8" x 10-1/2" at its widest and longest points, narrowing to 7/8" at the boat's masthead, and .03 inches thickfor CMM, whose guidelines stipulate that a piece be
between 3-1/2" to 12" high, 5" to 15" long and .007" to 3/4" thick.
With the challenge of getting the effort opened non-existent, and the benefit of a unique shape and graphic, the mail piece sailed into the hands of prospects living within a five-mile radius of a Sovereign Community Bank office pitching the newly introduced Milestone Banking.
The creative, designed by Acxiom and produced by ShipShapes, was geared toward one segment of a larger direct mail campaign reaching 2.5 million households, according to Scott Petinga, vice president and manager of Segment Management for Sovereign. Launched in early September, the piece and the sailboat image tie into an overall media campaign that includes TV commercials.
"This is the first time we are experimenting with oversized and die-cut creative," says Petinga. "The objective is to find out if the unusually shaped piece can increase our response rate."
Results were not available prior to press time, but George Hurst, manager of direct mail for the USPS, maintains, when it comes to CMM, shape makes all the difference.
"You want to create a shape that is different from others that people will see in the mail," says Hurst, using the example of an accounting firm that saw an increase in response for a simple black-and-white CMM piece that was round rather than rectangular. "You want to use the full extent of your freedom to create an irregular shaped die-cut that's going to jump out of the mailbox."
Keeping in mind, however, that CMM mailers have only one side of a mailing's real estate to pitch an offer, clarity and brevity are key.
Sovereign wastes no time highlighting the benefits of its offer, delivering copy on the back in a style reminiscent of the Food Guide Pyramid. The advantages of Milestone Banking's Premier Options unfurl as the eye descends, starting from the narrowest point at the top with the Sovereign logo and a headline that reads: "Making it easier to pursue your passions." As the mail piece widens, the two account plans offered through Premierthe Legacy Option, which offers investment opportunities, and the Elite Option, featuring preferred rates and professional adviceare briefly described. Listed at the bottom is the Milestone Banking Sweepstakes and an offer to get $25 upon opening a Premier Options account.
As far as success with delivery of this piece, Petinga notes no problems, but adds that these mailingslike all CMM piecesare not returned if undeliverable. Still, he maintains, "They fit into most standard-size mail boxes. Plus, they are pretty bendable and will straighten fairly well."