Show Your Cards, But Not So Soon
Much of the time in direct mail, an innovative concept arises sheerly by accident.
Such is the case with a new 6" x 10" self-mailer effort dropped by Select Comfort in October (389SELCOM1002). The package is a retail traffic-driver sent as a follow-up to customers who have made visits to a Select Comfort store location in the last 60 to 90 days. It is unique and interactive in that it teases the recipient to lift back a flap that reads: "We're Unveiling the All-New Sleep Number 7000!" The flap features a graphic of a red velvet curtain concealing all but the bottom of a bed. To the left, copy implores: "You've Never Seen a Duvet-Style Pillowtop Like This ..."
When the recipient turns the flap over, a graphic of the actual Sleep Number 7000 is presented. On the reverse side of the flap, a headline reads: "Our Most Luxurious Pillowtop Ever!" Below, detailed product information is provided. The only thing missing is a "Ta-da!"
Heidi Mills, director of direct mail for Select Comfort, said she was trying to think of a different way to present the new product when the idea came to her "somewhat by accident."
"Typically, we always showed a bed on the outside [of self-mailer postcard efforts]," she says. "This time we wanted to do a teaser. I said, 'We're talking about unveiling something, let's do something with a curtain, like on Broadway.'"
Mills said a different approach was initially considered, but her sudden idea prevailed. It was implemented in large part to catch the recipients' eye with the new product, and hopefully hold their attention for a few moments longer than with a simple postcard. One thing you can wager with a package like this: People will at least open it.
The piece, however, pulled "quite low" compared to previous months, says Mills.
The reason being is that this effort came on the heels of a major, free-for-a-year finance offer sent out to most of Select Comfort's housefile. The recipients who received that offer in September were treated to a 40- to 60-percent discount on merchandise.
"Nearly all the same people were hit the month prior with a major appeal," says Mills. "We got the sales, it's just difficult to pinpoint what the [October] package's performance was because of the odd situation a month prior."
The way Select Comfort measures response to a retail traffic-driver is by matching the individuals who received a direct mail effort versus the individuals who actually purchased the product in the stores.
Overall, Mills says, the Sleep Number 7000 is selling well.
When asked if Select Comfort will use this format again, Mills quickly retorted: "Oh yes. We have lots of plans for product launches and will definitely use this package again."