State of Simplicity
Think about the last travel promotion you received in the mail. Odds are, it was a glossy, colorful pamphlet overflowing with photos of people sunbathing, skiing, golfing or the like—images that beckon with the promise that all this and more can be yours. This perceived notion of decadence is closely associated with the travel industry, and subsequently, the marketing materials supporting the sector.
But while this design tactic is ubiquitous in countless tourism mailing campaigns, the Alaska Travel Industry Association (ATIA) takes a markedly different approach with its recent lead-generation package (Archive code #505-173890-0610).
In what has proven to be quite a cost-effective maneuver, ATIA opts out of sending an oversized photo spread or multipage brochure for its travel guide mailing—in fact, the literature the piece promotes isn’t included at all. The organization instead mails a two-color 4˝ x 7-1/2˝ package that proposes Alaska as a vacation destination to prospects, while requesting they return a BRC in order to receive the travel guide.
It’s an effort that outpulled its former control (a traditional, photograph-filled, four-color 6˝ x 9˝ effort) by at least 5 percent, according to Kathleen Fleming, account manager for Bradley Reid & Associates, the Anchorage–based advertising agency that handles direct response for ATIA. She explains the economic design choice as having unmatched cost per response and cost per conversion. “We’ve tested against more glossy, colorful pieces but we have not found a more effective piece,” Fleming says, reporting response rates of 9 percent to 15 percent for ATIA’s purchased lists, and close to 20 percent for its database.
The pared-down design goes a long way in keeping cost down—especially when considering what it would be if ATIA sent its travel guide as a lead-gen effort, rather than as a fulfillment piece—however, it does not work alone in helping to lift response, according to Fleming.