Direct Mail

Eye on Envelopes: 5 Trends to Watch
August 9, 2006

Self-mailers—with their eye-catching formats, flashy designs, and nearly unlimited size, dimension, and finishing options—may get a good deal of the creative attention, but for most direct mailers, envelopes are the real go-to format. In the first half of 2006, some 65 percent of all efforts received by the Who’s Mailing What! Archive arrived in an envelope. In 2005 that number was a similar 64.2 percent, and in 2004, an only slightly lower 63 percent. With numbers like this, it’s easy to see why envelope creative, while perhaps not as exciting as its self-mailing cousin, is an important discipline to watch. Not only do mailers need

Famous Last Words: Is Grossman’s Math Still Alive?
August 1, 2006

For years, the coin of the realm for magazine circulation efforts was the double postcard. The advantages of the double postcard over a full-dress package: • It mailed at a special low First Class rate, because if the bottom half was used, postage would be collected for mail going both directions. • It’s quick and cheap to produce and stockpile. • It’s easy to personalize and takes color well. • Upfront response usually beats full-dress packages. The disadvantages: • Bill-me is the only payment option so pay-up is lousy. • Can only be used for a well-known or self-descriptive product (e.g., TIME, Philadelphia magazine) going to an obvious universe. This past June, I

Market Focus: Dentists
August 1, 2006

Check Up on These Medical Professionals For some, a trip to the dentist is fraught with anxiety. In contrast, however, marketers of many stripes should look forward to reaching out to these medical professionals. Entrepreneurial and business savvy, dentists are open not only to the more obvious profession-related offers, but also to a slew of services and products that help them run their hectic business practices and personal lives. Meet the Doctors According to Fred Peterson, media relations for Chicago-based American Dental Association (ADA), there are more than 173,000 professionally active dentists in the United States. Nearly 80 percent of these doctors are general practitioners, while another

The Clarity Group’s Craig Wood on Values-based Marketing
July 19, 2006

Over the last few years, Craig Wood, like many of you, has noticed a disturbing current in the direct marketing world: Response is down, costs are up and the result is a decrease in the productivity of marketing efforts as a whole. Wood, who recently left his position as group president and head of the database division at Yankelovich to become founder and CEO of Chapel Hill, N.C.-based consultancy The Clarity Group, attributes much of this troubling trend to a rise in consumer resistance. But he also sees another emerging force, one with the ability to reverse some of this resistance: values-based marketing. Values-based marketing

Sylvan Learning’s Brent Hartley on Pushing Direct Mail Results
July 12, 2006

While Universal McCann’s Senior Vice President and Director of Forecasting Robert J. Coen, attributes the rise in Standard mail volume in the first quarter of 2006 to continuing reductions in telemarketing spending (see his June 2006 Insider’s Report), a little credit can go to brand advertisers getting more fully into the measurable marketing game. Brent Hartley, manager of direct mail marketing at Sylvan Learning, talked to Target Marketing this week about the Baltimore-based personalized learning services company’s increasing adoption of direct mail programs for lead generation and conversion. With roughly 250 corporate centers and more than 800 franchises, Sylvan Learning hopes to leverage direct

Market Focus: Homemakers
July 1, 2006

Selling to the Home Front The typical image of today’s woman often revolves around a go-getter trying to balance career and home, or a professional climbing the corporate ladder. However, there are as many as 5.6 million women in the United States who have opted to make the home, and homemaking, their priority, according to Diane Sparks, president of Weaverville, N.C.-based list management and direct marketing database company The DM Shop, which manages the Domestic Diva list. Events such as Sept. 11 and the growing focus on the domestic arts, which gained prominence and popularity with the rise of people like Martha Stewart, also have

Ready, Set, Action!
July 1, 2006

What makes direct response advertising different from general advertising? One word sums it up: response. No matter what type of direct marketing media you use to target your customers and prospects, your primary objective is to generate response—immediate or delayed, in the mail or online. And it’s your call to action working hand-in-hand with your offer that generates this measurable response. That’s why your call to action should never be overlooked, under-valued or taken for granted. It plays a very important role in every mailing you send out. What, When, Why and How So, how do you make your call to action more compelling and effective

Prepare for the Postal Rate Hike
June 28, 2006

How are you planning to deal with 2007’s postal rate increase? If you aren’t already thinking about your preparations, you should be, advises David Colatriano, senior vice president and general manager of direct marketing and premedia for Baltimore, Md.-based direct marketing consulting company Vertis. “My primary piece of advice is don’t wait,” asserts Colatriano. “Start to explore how you are executing your mailings right now, and work with your partners on ways to update the formats or evaluate the current mailing plan to look for opportunities to bring more efficiencies. They’re very complicated regulations, but there [are] ways to minimize the cost through good

Envelope Manufacuters Association’s Tonya Muse on Envelopes
June 28, 2006

Copywriting legend Herschell Gordon Lewis has said that envelopes serve two purposes: to get themselves opened and to keep their contents from “spilling out onto the streets.” While sound production makes the latter a simple goal, the former poses a more formidable challenge. Understanding this, Alexandria, Va.-based trade association Envelope Manufacturers Association (EMA) and its nonprofit research arm, the EMA Foundation, set out in late 2005 to conduct a study that would offer some insight into how people view and relate to envelopes. Since I know you love envelopes—in 2005, 63 percent of efforts received by the Who’s Mailing What! Archive were envelope packages—I thought

Connect With the Boomer Market Online
June 14, 2006

Don’t overlook online channels when putting together a marketing plan for the boomer market. According to Mary Furlong, CEO of Lafayette, Calif.-based Mary Furlong and Associates, an agency specializing in the boomer and senior markets, boomers are the most wired adult market. Indeed, boomers turn to the Internet to find answers to serious questions—ranging from health-related concerns to real-estate questions—which is an indication of their comfort level online, notes Furlong. “Sometimes marketers think, ‘I’ll just reach them through magazines and newspapers.’ But I think the new ‘Aha’ is to reach them through their BlackBerrys and reach them online,” says Furlong.