Tracy A. Gill

Tracy A. Gill
Wenner Media’s Nicola Wodinger on Marketing Partnerships

The idea that working with the right marketing partners can help a mailer both gain entrée with new audiences and deliver added incentive for its existing base is gaining momentum within the direct mail community. To wit, over the last year, the Who’s Mailing What! Archive has seen a number of mailers, including Don Dion, Pitney Bowes and Kiplinger’s, kick their mail efforts up a notch by joining forces with other like-minded marketers. Another indication that this trend is starting to catch on is the inclusion of both a session and a roundtable on the topic at the Direct Marketing Association’s 21st Annual Circulation Day

AAA Life Insurance’s Dave Marold on Emotional Selling Propositions

During a session at the Direct Marketing Association’s annual conference in October, Dave Marold, director of direct marketing for Livonia, Mich.-based AAA Life Insurance, partnered with consultant and author Jeanette McMurtry, of Vail, Colo., to give a presentation about the concept of emotional selling propositions, aka ESP, which McMurtry describes as a message that “appeals to the one real trigger of sales—emotional fulfillment.” “Traditionally, marketers have always developed a marketing program around a unique selling proposition,” she continues. “But we live in a day and age when it’s very difficult for a company to be unique. And that isn’t what’s drawing customers for a lifetime

Put Your Reply Device to the Test

A reply device can be more than just the means by which prospects share their information; it can be an active and effective part of your sales message, according to direct mail veteran Sandra Blum. In her book, “Designing Direct Mail That Sells,” Blum outlines 19 questions that you can use as a guideline to determine whether your response mechanism simply takes orders or leads to them: * Is it easy to understand? * Is it easy to find? * Is there a clear statement of the offer? * Does it highlight the benefits? * Does it encourage action? * Does it spell out how to respond? * Does it highlight

Senior Advisors Wealth Management’s Joshua Mellberg on Predictive Modeling

The best way for Joshua Mellberg, president and founder of Tucson, Ariz.-based financial planning firm Senior Advisors Wealth Management, to sell his company’s investment services is to meet with prospects face-to-face. And over the past few years, he has found direct mail is the key to getting his foot in that door. “We do lead-generation seminars that allow prospects to see what we are about, what services we offer,” Mellberg explains. “For me to get in front of people, the most cost-effective way is mailers. … We’ve done telemarketing and it’s getting harder with the do-not-call lists, hiring the staff, constantly tweaking the [script]. We’ve

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips’ Goldstein on Direct Marketing and the Law

When it comes to the law, one oft-used axiom seems especially fitting: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Just ask any company that has been on the wrong side of an FTC investigation, injunction, lawsuit or the like. The list is long, so one won’t be hard to find. Prevention, in this case, is linked to a thorough understanding of the legal issues impacting the direct response industry and a commitment to enacting the best legal practices in your mail programs. To help you in that endeavor, I reached out to attorney Linda Goldstein, partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips and

Vouchers: Variations on a Theme

For the last two decades—and particularly the last few years­—vouchers have been a mailstream staple. And despite occasional evidence to the contrary, the format doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. “It’s really amazing,” states Patricia Silver, president of Bethesda, Md., consultancy Silver Marketing. “That little package, for the right product, does so well.” Most of the time, that “right product” is either a magazine or a newspaper, but voucher fever has been spreading of late, working its way into the programs of association, software, nonprofit and even financial services mailers. This can be attributed, in part, to savvy mailers “stealing smart,” contends Caroline Zimmermann,

Rodale’s Todd Leiser on Modeling

For more than two decades, multimedia publisher Rodale has been relying on modeling as a way to unite and maximize its very large customer database. Today, the company has more than 26 million active customers on file, and its modeling program is even more powerful than ever, enabling Rodale to send out hundreds of millions of promotions each year—including more than 140 million direct mail efforts—in support of its constantly evolving repertoire of magazines, books and DVDs. Here, Todd Leiser, the Emmaus, Pa.-based organization’s vice president of database marketing, pauses to discuss what it takes to keep Rodale modeling strong. TG: How has modeling enhanced

St. Mary’s/Westside Food Bank Alliance’s Cucitro on Fundraising

For many nonprofits, direct mail is an essential fundraising tool … and a big cost center. But not so for St. Mary’s/Westside Food Bank Alliance, which has found some creative ways to keep direct mail expenses down and revenues up. In 2005, direct mail accounted for nearly $3.3 million of the food bank’s $9.2 million fundraising revenue, explains Claudia Cucitro, the Phoenix-based organization’s associate director of development. Plus, the development team accomplished this while still investing 96 cents of every dollar raised in food bank programs. “Mail is one of the things our senior staff is committed to putting money into because it’s so

True Wealth’s Self-mailer Success

For a mailer like Stansberry & Associates Investment Research, which publishes in the highly competitive financial newsletter sector, being first out of the gate with a new idea is everything. “When you have a good idea, you start seeing other [mailers] with that same idea, and it saturates people’s minds,” explains Stansberry’s Director of Marketing Sean Carroll. Although Carroll specifically is referring to the investment themes used to promote Stansberry’s largest publication True Wealth—such as gold, timber and bonds—this sentiment is equally applicable to the creative executions used to support those themes. An example of this drive to be first in the mail with compelling investment

Measurement—Not Money—Is the Key to PPC

Time and money—two things we all would like more of. They also are two key ingredients lacking from most pay-per-click (PPC) SEM programs, according to a recent study conducted by consultancies the e-tailing group and NetElixir. The 1st Annual E-tailer PPC Stress Study found that when asked about the one thing their organization could do to improve PPC management, respondents were vocal about their desire for “more robust management,” citing such needs as “more people and more time to manage campaigns,” “more resources in place to manage in more depth,” “more time … for strategy and development of campaigns,” and the ability to “dedicate

Overcome Inbox Image Suppression

“As increasing e-mail account provider adoption of default image suppression ushers in the age of the imageless inbox, marketers must account for it as part of their overall efforts to optimize the success of their e-mail communication initiatives,” contends New York-based e-commerce consultancy Epsilon in its recent whitepaper, Default Image Suppression Demystified. If you don’t realize how widespread image suppression is becoming, consider this: The whitepaper reports that in a consumer survey conducted this past summer, some 48 percent of respondents report that images sometimes or always are turned off in their e-mail messages. This number is sure to climb in 2007 as Microsoft

Six Ways to Keep the Yikes! Out of the Postal Rate Hike

With the sting of one postal rate increase in recent memory and another looming on the horizon, the mailstream can be a pretty expensive place to do business. But the upcoming postal rate hike does not have to be as painful as it looks—if you take the time to explore the many ways you can trim costs from your direct mail program, particularly by taking advantage of the many workshare and automation discounts the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has, or will have with this new rate case, in place. Here’s a look at just a few of the tactics you can try. • Scrub those

Aperture’s Dana Cowsert on Tried-and-True Direct Mail Practices

Dana Cowsert, marketing director of quarterly fine art photography magazine Aperture, faces a rare duet of challenges: Not only does she have to sell a “niche of a niche” publication in an economy that is increasingly difficult for traditional publishers, but she also has to do it on a nonprofit budget. (Aperture is published by Aperture Foundation, a not-for-profit founded by, among others, Ansel Adams and Minor White.) Here, Cowsert reflects on how some tried-and-true direct mail practices and a hands-on approach to problem solving have helped her keep Aperture’s mail program in focus. TG: Tell us a little about your direct mail program. DC: Direct mail

Find Your Perfect Match(back)

Performing matchbacks—determining the source of a sale for which you don’t have a source code—is a complicated process. It’s a science that is evolving, growing increasingly complex, and yet does not come with a set of industry standards, asserted Susan McIntyre and Terrell Sellix, president and vice president of marketing respectively, at consultancy McIntyre Direct, during a session on the topic at last month’s DMA06 Conference & Exhibition in San Francisco. However, it’s still an essential part of developing sound marketing strategies. While the presenters could not offer a simple formula for matchback gold, they did deliver 10 very helpful, must-perform steps that everyone

Three Key Web Metrics to Watch

Terms such as clickthrough, cost-per-click and channel integration get a good deal of attention from online marketers these days, but the real holy grail of the online world is that other “c” word: conversion. “Despite advances in both technology and design, most Web-based marketing efforts reveal a continuing struggle among business leaders, marketers and developers to grasp a fundamental truth—success hinges on conversion,” writes Jeannette Kocsis, vice president, digital marketing for Harte-Hanks Direct in the recent whitepaper, The Conversion Point—Leveraging the Web to Convert Visitors into Customers. The challenge for most marketers, however, is how to get to that much-sought-after point. The best place