Special Report: Less Envelope, More Response
Less may be more—at least when it comes to outer envelopes, suggests Michelle Rudiman, director of marketing for design software solution provider Autodesk. The company put this theory to the test during a direct mail campaign in September 2005, replacing the standard back panel on 83⁄4˝ x 111⁄2˝ envelopes with an oversized poly window, 7˝ x 91⁄2˝ in size.
The campaign was designed to boost awareness and use of Autodesk’s e-Learning resources among subscription customers, primarily engineering designers and architects. E-Learning is a set of online tutorials that helps users improve their proficiency with Autodesk software.
Autodesk historically had communicated with its subscription customers via e-mail but, for the e-Learning initiative, the company wanted a “higher touch,” says Rudiman. “The look and feel were very different from our e-mail communications and I liked the idea of having handouts to share with the team,” she adds.
The poly window proved integral to the e-Learning campaign, helping inspire gatekeepers (in this case, IT administrators) to open the package and to distribute its contents to colleagues. “On the B-to-B side ... moving past the gatekeeper to the key executive is really critical,” stresses Carolyn Goodman, founder and president/managing partner of Goodman Marketing Partners, the direct marketing agency that handled everything from concept and copywriting, to production and fulfillment for the campaign.
To maximize the poly window’s effectiveness, the mailing contents had to be compelling. Following the mailing’s theme—“e-Learning helps productivity soar”—Goodman Marketing Partners designed a paper airplane model to show through the poly window. Also included in the package were four additional paper airplane models for sharing, a letter explaining what e-Learning was and how recipients could use it, as well as a buck slip providing e-Learning access instructions and the titles of available tutorials.
Hollis Brush, production manager for Goodman Marketing Partners, says choosing the right paper for each element was vital. “We explored a number of options in order to make sure we were within our weight limit of postal requirements, while also ensuring that the paper for the outer envelope could handle full ink coverage without any bleed through and that the paper airplane, when assembled, would actually glide through the air easily and support our concept of ‘helping productivity soar’,” she explains.