The Future of Direct Mail
Mark Johnson: I'm still seeing long copy consistently winning tests against shorter copy, provided it is strongly benefit-oriented. Customers want benefits, and longer copy can deliver more benefits. It is still easier to increase ROI by increasing CPM in the mail rather by than reducing it. The hybrid voucher is a great example.
Goodman: Some of the biggest advances in direct mail marketing has come on the list side, which allows marketers the ability to target better than ever before possible. There is no need for "spray and pray" marketing when you just target the prospects that are most likely to do business with you. Offerings such as modeling, analytics and appending, once reserved for only the most advanced Fortune 1000 marketers, are now available to virtually any business down to the mom and pop bicycle store.
Boldt: How is copy and color and design, on the outer as well as inside the effort, being used differently today?
Greenawalt: People are running scared. Afraid to put money into testing. Afraid to take risks for breakthroughs. Creative is not valued. There's little market for great creative right now. People who know technology are doing creative, because they don't charge much for it. I call it shooting your horse.
Cuno: It's important to explore things like color, freemiums, both sides of the envelope, etc. But sometimes I fear that these and other devices are used in place of, instead of to increase readership of, strong copy. Ultimately, copy is and always has been where selling takes place. Skilled use of an envelope back increases sales, not by looking cool for its own sake, but by luring more people into the copy. And that, of course, only works if the copy is powerful. The art of compelling copy must never take a back seat.