Zimmerman Agency's Caroline Zimmerman on the Evolution of the Voucher
The idea of a voucher package was something completely different. People had enough budget then to take a risk. And the voucher turned out to be one of the smartest things you could do, and at the time it was unlike anything that was in existence. What it did have was great cost efficiency, which remains very appealing to people.
So we tried it, and then it worked like gangbusters. Once it started working, it becomes a matter of moving it to the many stages it’ll go through. If you were to look at any of my packages today, it would bear almost no resemblance to the monarch package with the blue band and window. It’s evolved through the years.
Boldt: Why was the voucher so successful immediately?
Zimmermann: Because people thought it was a bill. That was my whole premise right away. I knew the American Express Statement of Benefits went to millions and millions of homes and people were used to thinking of that kind of package as a bill. If it goes into the bill basket, bills to be paid, then people already have the mind-set that they’re going to pay for it, checkbook in hand.
If it’s an appealing type of magazine, it increases the odds that they’ll take the next two steps that you want them to take: one, to subscribe and two, then paying for it right then and there. Then getting 80 [percent] to 85 percent of cash with order on a voucher is very hard to beat.
Boldt: Does that original premise work as well today as it did then?
Zimmermann: Yes, but perhaps today, the voucher’s evolution means it doesn’t look so much like a bill as something important that you better check before you throw away.