Direct Mail

Give Information a Premium Presentation
September 6, 2006

Within the world of premiums, information is a hot commodity. Whitepapers, guides and other educational items have steadily gained in popularity over the past few years, supplanting baseball caps, tote bags and myriad tchotchkes as the go-to response boosters for many mailers, particularly those in the publishing and B-to-B sectors. To wit, in the second quarter of 2006, 24.3 percent of premium mailings collected by the Who’s Mailing What! Archive contained informational freebies; that number jumps to about 32.4 percent if you take the proprietary loyalty programs offered by financial services companies out of the equation. With so many educational premiums in the marketplace, it

Get More Quality Out of Digital Printing
September 6, 2006

For years, most direct marketers looked at digital printing as offset’s low-quality cousin. But technological improvements and an industry-wide interest in one-to-one communication have driven digital into the spotlight. “Digital printing is definitely on the rise,” states Dr. Joseph Webb, a Ph.D. graduate of the NYU Center for Graphic Communications Management and Technology and founder of To back up this assertion, Webb cites a study released by the Commerce Department that shows digital printing business increased 28.3 percent from 1997 through 2004, while the print industry overall decreased by 2.7 percent. Because most of the talk about digital printing centers around highly personalized variable

Seven Ways to Trim Production Costs
September 6, 2006

When it comes to direct mail, everyone wants to find a way to get the same return on less investment. As one of the biggest expenditures in a direct mail campaign, production is a logical place to start. And it’s also one of the easiest, as there are a number of simple things any company can do to trim some of the fat out of its production budget. Here are a few ideas: • Use standard-size envelopes. With the right creative, #10s, 6˝ x 9˝ and the like have just as much mailbox impact as their custom counterparts, for a fraction of the price. To

The Top 50 Mailers
September 1, 2006

Target Marketing blended mailing history from the Who's Mailing What! Archive with list activity from full-service list and data firm American List Counsel to develop a proprietary compilation of the top users of direct mail in the United States. Included in this Top 50 listing are some of the industry's most venerable members, such as Readers Digest Association, Time Inc., American Express, Highlights for Children and AARP. And a number of these firms have practically built their businesses on the backs of direct mail packages; I'm talking about Boardroom Inc., Rodale Inc., AOL and International Masters Publishers. Particularly gratifying is the fact that the owner

Famous Last Words: What Are They Thinking?
September 1, 2006

For years, I’ve run a small ad in this publication offering a free critique of an ad or a direct mail package. Obviously, the purpose is to troll for clients. At this juncture in my life—with a twice a week e-zine (, this monthly column and a curious promotional vehicle called List Insider—I’m not interested in taking on new clients. But the ad continues to run. The reason: I love to see what people are doing. When someone sends me a piece for critique, I don’t say whether it is good or bad, nor do I say whether or not I like it.

Keeping Down the Cost of Delivery
September 1, 2006

Challenge: Decrease cost and improve efficiency of delivery options Solution: Adopt a new postal delivery system for packages of one pound or less Result: Operational improvements and approximately 35 percent net savings on overall delivery expenses Cost-efficient, timely product delivery is at the heart of any successful mailer’s operation. Empi-Compex Technologies, a division of orthopedic device marketer Encore Medical, is no exception. The New Brighton, Minn.-based pain management and rehabilitation products marketer wanted to lower the cost of shipping its medical devices, particularly those weighing one pound or less. These lighter weight products make up approximately 42 percent of all packages sent by the company, and more

List Vision: Three Fundraising Tactics to Increase Monthly Giving
August 30, 2006

Garnering monthly donations for your cause can be a more cost-effective proposition if you piggyback this ask onto your current single-gift efforts. Steve Froehlich, director of direct marketing at the ASPCA, a New York-based nonprofit that supports the humane treatment of animals through education, legislation and healing/adoption programs, offered attendees of last week’s List Vision event the following monthly giving program insights from tests conducted by the ASPCA. Insight #1. The inclusion of a monthly giving option on response devices in acquisition efforts has generated response between 8 percent and 12 percent, and helped build up the ASPCA’s sustainer file. Insight #2: When incorporating a monthly

Belvoir Media Group’s Tom Canfield on List Selection
August 23, 2006

Belvoir Media Group, based in Norwalk, Conn., is a publisher of reader-focused newsletters and magazines. Its publications cover such enthusiast topics as horses, aviation, sailing, pets and sports shooting, and in the last few years, it has expanded into the health arena, targeting mainly an aging baby boomer population. For Tom Canfield, the publisher’s vice president of circulation in charge of the health and aviation groups, success in these tight vertical markets requires making the most out of each and every list he has at his disposal. Canfield spoke with me about the importance of taking a good, hard look at your merge/purge, your partnership

List Vision: Endorsements, a More Powerful Form of Rental
August 23, 2006

Who you know has proven to be just as effective as what you know for publishing firm Kiplinger and its direct mail prospecting strategies. According to Denise Elliott, vice president of sales and marketing for this publisher of investment newsletters and magazines, marketers can find success in the mail by leveraging a list owner’s brand recognition and integrity to attract new customers. Elliott explained how such partnerships work during the “50 Tips in 50 Minutes” session at last week’s List Vision conference. Rather than do a straight rental deal of a noncompeting firm’s housefile, Kiplinger works with the list owner to develop a mailing that

Calling All Mailers: Ideas for Phone-Mail Integration
August 9, 2006

Telemarketing may have a bad rep in certain circles, but a number of direct mailers have found it to be the perfect compliment for their mailbox-bound efforts, especially when their goal is to be a little more aggressive when going after prime targets. Take Chicago-based B-to-B publisher and seminar host Lawrence Ragan Communications, for example. Direct mail had been the centerpiece of the marketer’s efforts for years, but a desire to up the ante on its marketing efforts led the company to test some alternative channel strategies. “We needed to be a little bit more aggressive,” explains the company’s marketing director of publications, Frank