The Ins Of Outers
Cost-Effective, Response-Driving Bells and Whistles for Your Outer Envelope
By Paul Barbagallo
As part of the pressure to maintain the vigor and allure of long-term direct mail packages under budget constraints, mailers must vet the outer envelope.
Don Schoenleber, vice president of sales, new product and business development for Vertis Direct Marketing Services, says in today's rough economic climate, the outer envelope has to do more of its job than ever before.
"Say you have a #10 [envelope package], for example. It may be that this particular format can carry your message and deliver a reasonable response rate," Schoenleber says. "But if response begins to drop off, the tradition is to play with the outer envelope first. Sometimes you have to make a radical departure and see what happens."
Debora Haskel, vice president of marketing for integrated printing company Instant Web Cos., concurs, and adds that clients have come to her recently with this quagmire:
"Here's our package that we have mailed for a long time. It has been successful, but it's getting tired. What can you do to help us boost response rates? Oh, by the way, we're not going to pay anything more for it."
We asked a few direct mail experts to reflect on the tenets of tweaking the envelopes of once-successful packages without incurring much additional expense (what to test? what not to test?) and the production strategies designed to spur a steady stream of greenbacks from responsive consumers.
Does Size Really Matter?
Direct mail guru Pat Friesen, president of Pat Friesen & Co., a direct response consultancy, advises marketers to test different envelope sizes with the same offer and message.
"If your control mailing is a #10, test a 6˝ x 9˝ or vice versa," Friesen asserts. "Or try testing an executive-size envelope against a standard #10 for business mailings."