Special Report: Driving Innovation
Where paper is concerned, Brophy says recycled sheets are not the only “green” option. Marketers can reduce their environmental impact by testing out-of-mail components, making packages smaller and using alternate paper products. Consumers Union, for example, moved its lift notes to a ground-wood sheet instead of a virgin-offset sheet. “Ground woods consume far fewer resources in their manufacture and it’s a high-yield lighter basis weight so we don’t use as much,” Brophy says.
The company also switched to a corn-based film for window envelopes and experimented with a biodegradable poly on a recent campaign.
The key is building time into schedules for research and testing, and plenty of cooperation between marketing, production and other colleagues. “Study the whole picture and ... look everywhere for opportunities to make environmentally preferable choices,” Brophy advises.
Making Materials Easy to Use
As consumers are increasingly pulled in a dozen different directions, some experts recommend making mail easier to read to increase its effectiveness. The “USA Today look”—i.e., using a chart or graph to demonstrate key points in letters, brochures or other communications—is a popular technique, says Barry Bogle, vice president of imaged products for Quebecor World Direct.
Johnson calls order forms an almost universally overlooked place to boost response. One way to test the theory is to ask someone in your target audience to complete your company’s order form. Johnson advises: “See how easy it is for them to fill out. Do they have any questions? Where do they get stuck? Then make it simpler based on that test.”
In addition, Kleinfelter cautions marketers about order-form typefaces. “Some people have made typefaces smaller so they can cut back on pagination,” she says. “The average age of the population is getting older ... so typefaces need to be larger.
Going Against the Grain