Dissecting a Simple Winning Order Card
August 1, 2009

Glancing at the National Review order card shown at right, you might wonder: "How can this guy write a whole article about such a straightforward reply device?" But consider Apple's simple-looking iPod, which works well and does not at first reveal all the care that went into its making.

Coin-Operated Control
August 1, 2009

In today's economic climate, when a constituent must tighten her belt, it may be hard for her to conceive that a reduced or small donation will even make an impact. While many fundraising direct mail packages include copy to combat this worry, saying, "Every dollar counts," or show charts indicating what each dollar amount equates to in relief, a recent mailing from the Council of Indian Nations (CIN) takes this approach one step further.

A Funny Business Mailing
August 1, 2009

For some business-to-business mailings, all that's necessary are a lead generation self-mailer, a few benefits and a call to action. However, when you sell a complex product or service, you may need more real estate to showcase your offer.

The Other, More Responsive Youth Market
August 1, 2009

When direct mailers discuss the youth market, often it's with a hint or more of frustration and confusion. Will teenagers and college students respond to direct mail? Do they only care about the electronic way of marketing?

Art That Moves
July 1, 2009

Sometimes a mailing comes together organically, with an inspirational story that connects with inspiring artwork and a powerful call to action. Such is the case with this mailing from the National Parkinson Foundation.

Anatomy of a Control: Nutrition Health Newsletter
July 1, 2009

From sensationalist television news reports to the explosion of the internet, a lot has changed over the past two decades in the way the public consumes information about health, especially pertaining to food. But through all the clutter and noise, the Nutrition Action Healthletter's acquisition control package has remained remarkably consistent and effective for the past 17 years and counting.

Renewing With a Basic Voucher
July 1, 2009

The voucher's biggest pros are its cost-effectiveness and good response rates. Some of the cons in using a voucher format are that there are too many vouchers in the mailstream, thus decreasing its impact, and the format does not offer enough real estate for direct mailers and copywriters to make sales. Even with these arguments on the table, there are still some instances where a voucher can be a perfect fit.

Minor Elements That Make a Major Impact
June 1, 2009

The biggest psychological revolution in the past 30 years is the emergence of cognitive science: the study of the brain. And among cognitive science's biggest discoveries is that about 95 percent of our mental processes are unconscious. I'm not talking about Sigmund Freud's notion of the unconscious, with its repressed desires and childhood emotional traumas.

Famous Mail
May 1, 2009

Valerie Bertinelli promises slimmer hips and thighs with Jenny Craig. Suzanne Somers used to make the same promise with the ThighMaster, recall? Morgan Fairchild offers love advice for Old Navy website visitors in a live chat. New England Patriot's star Tedy Bruschi touts the benefits of life insurance for Boston area consumers. Genevieve Gorder of "Trading Spaces" gives home improvement advice and endorses 3M Corp.'s building products. Teen idol Vanessa Hudgens shares her back-to-school wardrobe preferences in a Sears magazine aimed at teenage girls.

Anatomy of a Control: A Major Acquisition
May 1, 2009

It's sold 4 million subscriptions since first rolling out in 1995. Tactful, thoughtful and genuine-certainly fundamental to its ability to remain relevant-the Mayo Clinic Health Letter also employs many of the finest direct mail tactics to great effect and continually makes small revisions to maintain its top-dog status.