Inside Direct Mail

Inside Direct Mail
Activity Highlights: B-to-B

The B-to-B market is all about cost and value these days. The high quality of the products and wares is also discussed in the direct mail, as well as the excellent service and programs provided, but these often take a back seat to good offers and top-notch deals that prospects can get. Also, in an attempt to get prospects to raise their hands, pURLs, sweepstakes and CD-ROMs are employed.

Anatomy of a Control: World Wildlife Foundation

Nothing speaks to a prospective donor or customer like an involvement device. Most people seem to find surveys, quizzes and free gift choices advertised both online and in direct mail irresistible.

One to Watch: Google

Google, famous for supposedly doing little-to-no advertising, has dipped its toe into direct mail for several years, according to our Who's Mailing What! Archive. However, recently Google has gone more full-throttle with its mail efforts, clearly having found value in reaching audiences with direct mail.

Direct Mail Spotlight: Graham Medical

You have a great product and you know the industry it's tailor-made for, so how fast can you introduce this product ... and in the right way? That was the question Graham Medical, owner of the new MegaMover Transport Chair

Stat of the Month: Financial Services

You don't need to scratch your chin very long to realize how much the financial services sector has altered over the past three years. Despite a slight surge in credit card mailings in October, the direct mail sent by financial services is barely recognizable in size or scope compared to the heydays of 2004 and 2005.

Archive Report: Insurers Address Economic Fears

With the latest health care bill headed into the Senate, the insurance industry has probably never been looked at more skeptically than now. So when mail arrives in prospective customers' mailboxes, it had better discuss the reality that most Americans face

DM Spotlight: Plain-Jane Voucher Gets Makeover

Vouchers have been in favor with publishers and fundraisers for years because they are not as expensive as larger 6" x 9" or 9" x 12" packages—and they still capture good response rates

One to Watch: Colonial Penn Life Insurance

Similar to the solid effort from SBLI (see "Archive Report: Insurers Address Economic Fears"), Colonial Penn Life Insurance makes the economic fears that nearly all prospects face today the focus of its mailing. The #10 envelope employs a teaser that is sure to get the attention of most folks today

Zimmerman Agency's Caroline Zimmerman on the Evolution of the Voucher

She began life after college as a school teacher before getting a job in the circulation department of a small magazine in New York City. That was when Caroline Zimmermann began to learn about direct marketing, including how much she liked it, to the point that she next got a job at a boutique direct marketing agency, where she became fascinated by both the art and the science of direct marketing—including whether or not her promotions worked.

Getting Big Response From Small Budgets

The reality that many direct marketers face today is smaller budgets for their direct mail campaigns. Yet clients don't want to see response rates suffer—and in some cases, they are desperate to see response increase.

Marketing to the Digital Community

In his 2009 book, "The Nature of Marketing: Marketing to the Swarm as well as the Herd," Chuck Brymer writes a chapter about a blueprint for a consumer-driven society. President and CEO of DDB Worldwide, he mentions Walt Disney World's Epcot Center and how it was originally designed to be a real community with real people. While Epcot-as-real-community didn't pan out, another type of community has in the last few years: "We now live in a digitally linked community where we share more of our lives, our emotions, and our preferences than ever before."

Psychological Tactics That Increase Mail Response

The two go-to components of a direct mail campaign—the list and the offer—may not (and often cannot) change much, as lists are better targeted and cleaner than ever before and many companies, especially in this economy, are giving potential customers "best offers" already.

Stat of the Month: Retail

It's nearly Halloween, and it's a particularly scary time for retailers heading into the heart of the holiday season. According to a recent National Retail Federation survey, two-thirds of families admit that the economy will affect their holiday shopping plans this year. More folks will be shopping for sales, using coupons, buying more practical gifts, and purchasing joint gifts for kids or parents.

Archive Report: Fundraising

While many other sectors have cut down on their mail volume, fundraising has stuck with its direct mail workhorse, even while most fundraisers also have bumped up their usage of email and social media marketing efforts. Looking at the Who's Mailing What! Archive, fundraising mail has grown in the overall mailstream by 18.3 percent so far in 2009 (data is recorded up until the end of July) compared to 2008 and a whopping 33.5 percent compared to 2007. Now, nearly 20 percent of the mailstream is dominated by fundraisers. Wow.

Direct Mail Spotlight: AFAR Magazine

One of the best things a direct mailer can do to help craft the most effective direct mail campaign is give the copywriter a sample of the product so said copywriter can personally study it and understand its benefits. But what if you have no samples to offer?