Zimmerman Agency's Caroline Zimmerman on the Evolution of the Voucher
That example is more of an exception than the rule, of course. Think about how many letters you’ll find in there in vouchers today, but you’ll see a lot of other things in there. I called it the fancy voucher, where we put in one or two buckslips. And I continue to look at editorial packages to see what else I could include.
Boldt: Does that include freemiums?
Zimmermann: I love freemiums. They can get a pretty good response bump. If it’s editorially driven, like the map for New York Magazine, it becomes an educational way for you to tell people about your magazine as opposed to a brochure that is promotional. And it’s cheap, and it supports the magazine.
Boldt: Does the voucher leave enough room for the editorial package?
Zimmermann: Certain lists need an editorial package. Food Network Magazine started with an editorial package and then went to the voucher, and it’s doing very well.
But think about the cost per thousand for the package; think about what it’s got to do in comparison to a voucher. Usually, an editorial package has to have a sweetener in the package—premium, first issue free, cancel at any time—that delays billing and encourages cancellation. You don’t have that with the voucher.
Boldt: Does the offer remain the heart of the voucher?
Zimmermann: Yes. The reason it works is classic human psychology: They get to see how much they’re getting for a certain amount of money. Usually it’s a hard offer, so there’s no preview issue or premium involved. What works best is guaranteed lowest price. If you can do that, then often it can become a control.
This article originally appeared in the November 2009 issue of Inside Direct Mail, a sister publication to Target Marketing. To learn more about Inside Direct Mail, visit www.insidedirectmail.com.