Asking Around an Event
Although the flower show has been a positive event to market around for the past few years, Betts says that PHS did try something new this year in testing a second mission-based package against the flower show control. Fifty thousand test packages were sent offering discounted membership and flower show tickets, but with a focus on Philadelphia Green's mission and work.
"We did a test to see if people would be still interested in what we did year-round and not just with the flower show," Betts says. To date, the flower show effort has been PHS' singular direct mail effort for the year. "We do smaller mailings throughout the year but nothing on the scale of this," shares Betts, who says a mission-based spring mailing is next.
Even with a follow-up postcard, sent in late January to 20,000 households, the results of this year's membership mailing were low. "We've always done really well with direct mail. We've always got a 1 percent response, not a problem, but last year it started to drop off, and this year it was definitely off-so I think the economy was a part of that," states Betts, who also noticed that people are waiting until the last minute to join or renew, with some recipients of the mailing even waiting until the flower show to purchase their memberships in person.
With no end in sight to the economic downturn, Betts plans to once again test a flower show piece against a mission-based piece next year, but reduce the quantity mailed. "Given the response that we've had over the last couple of years, it will be important to look at some ways to scale it back and still have some impact," she concludes. Next year's mail package again will feature new creative, to reflect the theme of the 2010 show, "Passport to the World."