What's New and What's Hot in Alternative Print Media? (1,045 wo
By Rachel McLaughlin
What's new in the world of alternate media? Lots! Traditional alternate media options, such as inserts in billing statements, have been joined by some newcomers. Telecoms have opened their billing statements to advertisers; and more unusual ways of reaching people, such as ticket jacket advertising and airport baggage carousel messages, offer more alternative options than ever before for marketers looking beyond traditional direct mail for ways to prospect.
A Whole New World
A whole new avenue of statement stuffers has recently opened up: the giant telecom industry. AT&T Wireless Long Distance and MCI WorldCom went to alternate media company Leon Henry Inc. to offer mailers the opportunity to include inserts in their billing statements.
Advertisers are jumping at the chance to ride along in these statements, says Debra Goldstein of Leon Henry Inc., because it is a golden opportunity to reach 70 million consumers. As these telecom companies don't rent their list, getting into their statement is the only way to reach their customers.
An additional statement stuffer opportunity that's hot right now, is in utility companies' statements, says Jaime Sbordone of Alternate Media Group. "The circulation is over 100 million annually," she says.
Another exciting event in alternate media, according to Leon Henry's Debra Goldstein, is the incredible interest and growth in computer-related programs. "Mailers want to reach these buyers any way they can, whether it be through blow-in/bind-ins, package inserts or statement stuffers. As more become available, this will certainly become very competitive," says Goldstein.
Bigger is Better (and stickers boost response!)
A trend has occurred in the last several years in card deck advertising: moving from the smaller, 3˝x51⁄2˝ decks, to larger, 6˝x71⁄2˝, decks. According to George Sala, advertising sales manager at Prentice Hall Direct, the larger size, made possible by changes in postal regulations, gives advertisers more room to deliver their messages.
In addition, decks such as Prentice Hall's health and consumer deck have taken a technique that boosts response in direct mail—stickers— and tweaked it.
By including "shooter labels," stickers imprinted with the customers name and address in the deck, marketers make it easy and inviting for a recipient to simply take a sticker and place it on a card he or she is interested in.
Prentice Hall's decks, segmented into niche markets by customers' purchases, go to Prentice Hall Direct education, health and consumer and business book buyers. Because these are previous customers, the products inside have an implied endorsement, says Sala.
A Familiar Envelope Gets a Face Lift
Everybody recognizes the signature brown envelope (below) containing lots of brand-name coupons, samples and offers: It's the Carol Wright co-op envelope. But both the envelope and its database have recently been revamped, says Karen Conroy, director of marketing at Cox Direct, with added success for marketers looking to this avenue.
First, changes were made to the database. By forming alliances with retailers, packaged goods manufacturers and database firms, the new database is built from frequent buyer and purchase history data from these three sources. The database has demographic, lifestyle and purchase data on 25 million households, focusing on families with children from birth to 17 year in age—the group that spends the most on all types of consummables. As Conroy puts it, these consumers have "the most noses to blow and the most mouths to feed."
In addition, a new envelope was created. The new and improved "watermark" envelope design has achieved a higher recall and higher opening rate than its predecessor.
Reaching People Going Through a Life Change
As just about every marketer will tell you, reaching people when they experience a life event—moving, having a child, buying a home—is one of the best times, as new needs are created. Smart marketers are reaching these people as these events occur. For example, Alternate Media Group and Lifestyle Change Communications offer programs in which pregnant women are given gift bags containing diapers, samples and coupons. Bundle of Joy Babies First Foods, managed by Manhattan Response Group, reaches parents of babies transitioning to solid foods.
What about the proud papas and grandparents? Lifestyle Change Communications has both of them covered with two new programs. The New Father's Cooperative envelope is included in the new mother's GiftPax, which are delivered to moms-to-be during the third trimester or to moms right after the blessed event. Grandparents who have just experienced a new addition to the family receive literature from a name-brand children's clothing manufacturer; inserts ride along with this literature.
Another example of a life change: Consider the New Year's resolution so many people make to get in shape by working out at a gym. The New You Health Club Information co-op card goes to fitness enthusiasts who have just joined one of 1,500 health clubs nationwide.
Something to Read While Waiting?
According to Perlstein, another exciting new avenue of alternate media is reaching people after they leave sporting events. As such, Sports and Entertainment Direct, part of LCC, is handing out packages to people as they exit sporting events, such as the Super Bowl, the Lipton Tennis Championship, the Final Four basketball tournament, Major League Baseball's spring training sessions and PGA events, which all target different segments of the population.
Another unusual way to reach people, though not direct-response driven, is by getting their attention as they stand and wait. One place this is certainly true is any airport's baggage claim area. To take advantage of this opportunity, Lifestyle Change Communications CarroSell program offers advertising on the panels of baggage claim carousels.
Due to the strict carry-on regulations now being enforced, most travelers are checking their bags. In addition, these travelers usually wait 15 to 20 minutes for their bags to arrive. The messages also are seen by the "meeters and greeters" of the travelers. This is yet one more opportunity to target your offer to the right people in a unique way.
• Telecom statement stuffers; call Leon Henry Inc., (914)
• Prentice Hall Direct's card decks; call (201) 909-6461.
• New Mom's GiftPax and utility statement stuffers; call Alternate Media Group, (732) 741-0585.
• Carol Wright; call Cox Direct, (800) 67-TARGET.
• CarroSell, Sports and Entertainment Direct, New Grandparent mailing and New Daddy GiftPax; call LCC Inc., (800) 411-5771.
• Bundle of Joy co-op; call Manhattan Response Group, (212) 683-8533.