"You can observe a lot just by watching." —Yogi Berra
Sitting with my breakfast companion of the last 44 years, I was mulling over what to write about in this edition of the DMIQ Insider. Denny jumped in with — "I've got something I want to write about." Turns out, we both had our eye on a direct mail effort that had slipped through our mail slot the previous day. He won. So, without further ado ... here's Denny:
The Joys (and Lessons) of Lumpy Mail
A lumpy yellow #10 World Wildlife Fund mailing arrived recently. The late Dick Benson said more elements in a mailing usually increase results and each additional element usually more than pays for itself.
I have always like lumpy mailings — clumsy things that separate themselves from the rest of the ho-hum collection of bills and other boring letters.
This WWF package had a letter, personalized return address labels, a calendar, plus all the usual elements. Opening it created a veritable party atmosphere.
And, of course, all these freemiums lay a big guilt trip on recipient and result in donations.
Joan Manley's Fetish
A powerhouse in direct marketing was Joan Manley of Time-Life Books. Starting as assistant to founder Jerome Hardy, Joan took over when the boss left to run a mutual fund. She turned the division into a major corporate revenue source.
Headquartered in New York, Joan recounted how she was emotionally pulled out to the Chicago mail-processing center several times a year. "Direct mailers never see their customers face-to-face," she said. "The only way to be 'touched' by them is to grab an armful of orders and see what they are sending back."
I originally thought this was fanciful. But at a New York fundraising event, a presenter from Father Flanagan's Boys Town said he was an inveterate incoming mail snoop. At the time, this guy wanted to test return address labels, but some hotshot, uppity creatives said, "That's tacky. Everybody's doing it. That's not for us."