Ethan Boldt

Ethan Boldt
A Truly Fond Farewell

After nearly seven years at North American Publishing Company and three years at Direct Marketing IQ, I am taking a new job at Rodale Inc. as Executive Director of Direct Books. While I'm jazzed about my future at Rodale, I will miss DMIQ and Napco — and all the great people that made it possible.

The Direct Mail Divide — 6 Big Trends in 6 Major Industries

We tend to view the direct mail industry as a whole, including the myriad trends that we glimpse in the flowing mailstream. But the reality is that each vertical — such as nonprofits or travel — can be rather different is how it's using mail in terms of format type, format size and personalization, for example. Reviewing mailing data from the first six months of 2013 and comparing it to 2012 and 2011 reveals …

Are We Witnessing a Gradual Downsizing of the Mail?

We knew this day would come: The day when the mail started to get smaller. Between postal costs, more efficient formats and the growing desire among prospects to read shorter copy, the writing was on the wall for larger mail pieces (categorized as any format larger than a 6"x9" envelope) for the past few years.

Experience Who's Mailing What! Live

If you're going to DMA2013 in Chicago, make sure you swing by booth 867 to visit our "Who's Mailing What! Experience Lounge." Come and say hello to me, Peggy and Kathy ... and we'll be happy to give you a demo of the state-of-the-art Who's Mailing What! (WMW) platform on the spot, or we can simply chat about current direct mail and email trends that we've spotted in our extensive database of direct marketing campaigns.

Following Google and USPS Rules — and Still Profit

Let's face it, if you're a business that relies on internet marketing and/or direct mail, Google and the U.S. Postal Service set the rules and we have to abide by them to survive ... err ... flourish. That's become more challenging in both spaces lately, not just because consumers and prospects often feel over-marketed to.

Spotlight on the Top 10 Mailers of 2013

With the help of Who's Mailing What! (WMW), we decided to take a closer look at the top 10 out of the Top 50 Mailers of 2013, which makes up Target Marketing's annual September cover story. In particular, one standout mailing campaign from each (although that's a challenge with catalogs, but we did our best!).

Top 50 Mailers

Welcome to the brand new list of Target Marketing's Top 50 Mailers. For the first time, we are relying exclusively on data from our partner Who's Mailing What! in compiling this list, as well as the other lists in this article, combined with list management information provided by SRDS. Who's Mailing What! has compiled the most complete library of direct mail and email in the world, and has tracked mail for more than 25 years. Earlier this year, it relaunched on a state-of-the-art, fully searchable platform.

A Back to School Triple-Whammy

HP jumps to the front of the "back to school!" promotional pack, as on July 29, the company emailed one of the first back-to-school offers of the summer. First, you'll note a very strong subject line: "Back-to-school sale! Save up to $400 plus free shipping." In one subject line and only 11 words, HP leverages three tactics that can get clicks and buys.

'Free Shipping' Tactic Is Surging in Email

"Free Shipping" have long been magic words to customers' ears, and that offer is especially common in marketing emails looking to get clicks and purchases. Looking at the numbers over six-month periods, this tactic has not only remained strong — appearing in over 15 percent of all emails at all times — but actually picked up momentum over the last year.

Freemiums Finding Their Way in the Mailstream

Freemiums are those wonderful (or annoying, depending on your perspective as a mailer or a recipient) little free gifts inside the direct mail piece. Fundraisers have used them for decades, feeding the reciprocity urge within all prospects to give back after they themselves just received something, especially when it was free!

Relauching a Magazine With the Triple Postcard

Direct mail has always been the key marketing channel for launching or relaunching a magazine. Formerly, that meant a splashy magalog. But times have changed, as publishers don't want to invest that kind of cash — yet they also hesitate to send out the common voucher for a new title.

Personalization & Premiums Go Up in Publishing

Everyone recognizes that magazine publishers have gone the way of the voucher the last few years, as magalogs and other acquisition packages are rare sights in the mailstream, unfortunately. However, that doesn't mean that magazine publishers are standing pat when trying to win subscribers through the mail.

Has a Star Crashed Your Email Party Yet?

In the age of smartphones, text messaging and general digital overload, getting people to open your emails has never been more problematic. While that's true for personal emails to friends, it's obviously even more the case for marketers. Unlike the mail piece that can entice with color, images, font size and format, email's fate rests almost entirely on that measly subject line ... those 10 to 50 characters that vie for the prospect's attention.

Employ 'Copy Drivers' to Drive Response

The first book that we published — "The Secrets of Emotional, Hot-Button COPYWRITING" — was based on some of the most successful examples of direct mail that were found in Who's Mailing What! It continues to be a big seller for us, in part because there aren't any other books about copy drivers and even fewer that showcase the mail pieces that have earned companies millions of dollars. 

Personalized Mail Works — and Insurance, Financial Services and Fundraising Marketers Know It

"Control mailings" — those mailings that are repeated in the mail — are considered successful mailings and are often the most worthwhile for marketers and printers to study. It's why they play such a prominent role in our multichannel marketing database, Who's Mailing What. But how does the use of personalization vary depending on whether a mailing is a control or not? And in which industries is this happening the most?