Direct Mail

10 Creative Ways to Go In-line
November 1, 2006

In-line finishing is like in-line skating in that it satisfies a primal urge: the need for speed. In-line finishing also has the “cool factor,” like in-line skating. And in-line printers get to wear those cool clothes, too. But what is in-line finishing exactly, and what are the best ways to use it? In-line finishing condenses the web printing process, the bindery process and the lettershop process into one continuous operation. One or more webs—or rolls of paper—are printed, cut, folded and addressed in a single step. And a wide variety of creative options are available to embellish the printed piece, as I’ll mention later. The advantages

The Wonders of White Mail
November 1, 2006

When I’m teaching a workshop and use the term white mail, I get blank looks from about half the group. They are unfamiliar with the term. White mail is unsolicited correspondence from your customers. While I don’t know this for a fact, I assume white mail got its name from the plain “white” envelope it arrives in—rather than a printed reply envelope provided by you, the marketer. I once was an official reader of white mail for the personalized Christmas card program at Walter Drake, a multichannel marketer of household merchandise and gift items. So, I know from experience the enclosed message can be anything

A Look Inside Financial Services Direct Mail
October 4, 2006

Each month, nearly a fifth of the mail collected by the Who’s Mailing What! Archive, a direct mail research service maintained by North American Publishing Co. (parent company to Target Marketing) comes from the financial services sector. With that much volume, the Archive often sees a number of interesting trends pop up among these mailers. Here’s a look at five areas where these mailers had some compelling activity in the first half of 2006. • APRs. Looking at APRs within the credit card sector can yield a number of interesting findings. For example, in the first half of 2006, the dominant APR was 0 percent,

Do’s and Don’ts of Kits
October 1, 2006

A few mistakes to avoid along with some great ideas to implement if your budget allows: Do personalize or customize the kit in some way. When working with a longer sales process, it’s key to show prospects you are paying attention to the qualification information they have been supplying you, explains Lee Marc Stein, proprietor of Lee Marc Stein Ltd. Either recap the details you gathered via your lead-generation effort in your fulfillment kit letter or at least address the prospect by name. Don’t assume people will pore over every word, photo and component in the kit, notes Pat Friesen, president of Pat Friesen & Co.

Custom Postage Goes Commercial
October 1, 2006

In mid-2004, the U.S. Postal Service ran a seven-week market test of custom postage for consumers; the success of that initiative led it to relaunch the program in May 2005 as a longer-term trial. This year, the Postal Service gave its stamp of approval to a one-year test of custom First Class, Priority and Express postage for commercial efforts. According to Nick Barranca, vice president of product development for the Postal Service, this commercial application came about due to the recent amendment of a Civil War-era law that prohibited commercial messages from being used on any obligation of the federal government. The law was

What to Put in the Fulfillment Kit
October 1, 2006

You’ve got some promising leads, prospects who have responded to your initial offer to learn more about your product or service. But that interest level could range from mild curiosity to a more immediate need for a solution to a problem. So what do you send these leads that will help the tentative become more assured, while not putting off those who might make a quick decision? “Whether the customer is a consumer or B-to-B buyer, the most important thing for the kit to do is to keep the sales process alive,” says Pat Friesen, president of Pat Friesen & Co., a direct marketing consultancy

One Powerful Copy Tactic to Test
September 20, 2006

Searching for a different creative platform to test for your product or service? One that has worked well for various Kiplinger newsletters is the concept that the product is “too powerful” for the average person, says Denise Elliott, vice president of sales and marketing, Kiplinger, publisher of investment newsletters, magazines and guides. Elliott offered this idea during List Vision’s “50 DM Tips in 50 Minutes” session, moderated by direct marketing and circulation expert Stuart Jordan. According to Elliott, this message strategy challenges recipients to respond not only so they can assert that they are not “average” but also so recipients can ensure they are getting

ProAssurance Group’s Marge Maxbauer on Direct Mail
September 20, 2006

Constantly fluctuating marketplaces, complicated legal landscapes, smaller mailing universes and intangible products make B-to-B insurance a challenging direct mail sector to navigate. But for Marge Maxbauer, director of marketing for ProAssurance Group, a national provider of medical professional liability insurance, negotiating this rocky terrain is well worth the reward, as direct mail has proven its mettle time and time again. Here, Maxbauer pauses to reflect on the importance of direct mail in her company’s acquisition and retention efforts, the significance of a clear idea, and why a strong foundation in the basics is the very best road map you can have. TG: What role does direct

5-minute Interview with Judy K. Verses, Senior Vice President, Marketing Verizon
September 19, 2006

Four months ago, Judy K. Verses stepped into new shoes at Verizon. As senior vice president of marketing, she oversees consumer and small-business offer management, retention and win-back marketing, and channel and business development. Below, she talks with Target Marketing about this pivotal period in telecommunications history. Target Marketing: What do you see as the biggest marketing challenge the telecommunications industry is facing right now? Judy K. Verses: More than ever … there is a huge proliferation of choices, not only from competitors, but also from the various delivery systems. Now consumers can have voice, data and entertainment on the regular local network, via satellite,

The New Vanguard
September 9, 2006

Every industry has its luminaries—pioneers whose names become synonymous with the techniques or products they developed. Ed Burnett, Ralph Lane Polk II, Richard Benson, John Caples, Leon L. Bean, Lillian Vernon, Jeff Bezos and, of course, Lester Wunderman come to mind. But not every trailblazer operates in the white-hot spotlight. Many conduct brilliant work day after day for their companies in relative anonymity. That is, until Target Marketing decided to nose around and find those professionals who are setting new standards for direct marketing performance. With the help of our Editorial Advisory Board and other key industry figures, we’ve selected eight exceptional direct marketers who