Stealing a Page From Its Own Catalog
Illustrating that some tactics can work across media formats, Martha Stewart Living recently found direct mail success using a stalwart of the catalog and magazine businesses: the blow-in insert (Archive code #203-177621-0412).
According to Rich Fontaine, senior vice president, circulation director for Martha Stewart Living, the publisher recently tested a blow-in for its 6" x 101/2" magalogwhich has been the lifestyle magazine's control since 2002to try to replicate the success it has enjoyed with blow-ins over the years in its catalog business, Martha Stewart: The Catalog for Living.
Even though it features only a few lines of copy, the 3" x 5" blow-inwhich is signed by Fontainenot only attracts attention with its bright yellow stock, but it also hits on three key elements aimed at convincing prospects to respond:
*It assures prospects that they will not receive a better subscription offer for the magazine, which, at $19.95 for 12 issues, is more expensive than many other monthlies on the market:
Our best offer. Guaranteed.
This is absolutely the best subscription offer you will see. We guarantee it. You'll pay only $19.95 (our lowest consumer rate) ...
*It places emphasis on the tote bag premium, which has proven its mettle for the publisher as its control across all of the magazine's direct mail efforts:
... receive our exclusive tote bagFREE with payment!
*It creates a sense of urgency by asking prospects to act now:
So what are you waiting for? Order now. It doesn't get any better than this.
Though new to Martha Stewart Living, this note card-sized message certainly is not new to direct mail. For example, in 2000 and 2001, Newsweek's professional discount control featured a similar, yellow-hued insert with the headline, "Attention Select Professionals," to assure prospects that the voucher price was the best they would find.
And although the insert is short on copy, the magalog effort certainly is not. A very full 38 pages, it includes a table of contents, a five-page letter from Editor in Chief Margaret Roach, editorial on such issues as creative wedding gifts, decorating for summer and scrapbooking, as well as a number of call-outs that draw attention to the tote bag premium and the reduced rate, which represents a $37 savings off the newstand price. Also prominently displayed is the fast fifty: a Calla Lily Rose Bouquet from marthasflowers, which Fontaine says also is a control across the magazine's direct mail efforts.
To keep the magalog fresh and successful, the blow-in is not the only part of this control that has been refined and tested over its many mailing cycles. "In addition to updating the magazine covers to be current," states Fontaine, "we continually test new copy points to drive incremental response."
Although it is too early to tell definitively what effect the blow-in will have on performance, it does have one successful test under its belt, and Fontaine feels results look promising: "We are highly confident it should produce a response lift."