Direct Mail

Market Focus: School Administrators
June 1, 2006

Marketing That Takes Smarts School is a time for growth, for expanding one’s horizons, learning to work with others and gaining knowledge. Often, it’s a complicated place, full of challenges and rules, but ultimately a rewarding experience that stays with you all your life. Not surprisingly, marketing to those responsible for school administration often is just as complex, but also rewarding for those marketers who take the time to learn about the needs and dynamics of this customer base. Reading, Writing and Everything in Between When looking at the kindergarten through 12th grade school market, there are more than 138,000 district-level administrators in the United States serving

Production and Paper Special Report: Get Smart About Print
June 1, 2006

Today, the word technology most often is used to refer to online innovations. In the search engine marketing sector, in particular, new solutions are rolled out almost monthly—if not weekly. By comparison, “most of what’s happening in direct mail printing is evolutionary not revolutionary,” says Barry Bogle, vice president, imaged products at Quebecor World, a commercial print media services firm based in Montreal, Canada. All the same, he notes, this incremental progress is significant in helping direct mail remain a cost-efficient activity for direct marketers. While few in the industry would dispute direct mail’s advantage as a strong one-to-one communication method, the rising costs

Production and Paper Special Report: Cycling Through Your Options
June 1, 2006

Consumers have become increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of the companies from whom they buy, and the direct mail delivered to their doorstep is a conspicuous reminder of paper consumption. Fortunately, finding a suitable paper that contains post-consumer waste is possible for just about every direct mail application. However, identifying a supplier that can provide product at the desired cost and composition requires knowing where to look. Not Your Grandfather’s Recycled Paper “Any [direct mail] product can be made with recycled fiber” without losing quality, according to Brian Cummins, the product and value chain manager for publications at paper manufacturer Stora Enso. Cummins says

Never too Small to Test
June 1, 2006

Just because your database isn’t in the millions and your budget isn’t the size of Dell’s, that doesn’t mean you can’t test. But if your housefile is only 25,000 names and your usual mailings are no more than 35,000 pieces, how do you get statistically reliable data from your tests? The answer lies in repetition. Whatever testing rules you are following, the statistical hurdle of 50 or 100 orders can be daunting for a small business. Overcome that problem by testing the same concept repeatedly. For example, if you are curious about whether installment payments will benefit your product but are unsure how much of

Production and Paper Special Report: Success From Any Angle
June 1, 2006

About five years ago, Eric Bright first saw the Flapper™, a dimensional mail piece that unfolds and re-folds to present four different messaging panels. While Bright, senior director of consumer marketing at Franklin Covey, a provider of effectiveness training, productivity tools and assessment services based in Salt Lake City, thinks the mailer featured the Nickelodeon cartoon character SpongeBob Squarepants, he’s positive he and his colleagues couldn’t stop playing with the effort’s reconfigurable panels. So the team decided in the summer of 2001 to test a Flapper, a format that is patented by Intervisual Communications, a dimensional print and promotions company acquired this past March by

It Takes Two
June 1, 2006

During the process of editing, writing and proofing articles for this issue, one message kept creeping up in many of the stories: A good business partnership leverages the knowledge of all parties for results that can be nothing short of astonishing. Some examples of how two heads (or three, four or five) are better than one: n Automotive dealer AutoNation doubled response to its customer direct mail efforts by working with direct marketing/printing firm DME to develop data-driven, customized communications; in turn, DME partners with document solutions firm Xerox and software company XMPie to provide its clients with cutting-edge printing technology. Read more about these fruitful

Magalogs: Design ’Em to Be Read
May 24, 2006

“In a magalog, copy is king, and I’m just here to help get people to read it,” proclaims designer Lori Haller, proprietor of Shadow Oak Studio, Germantown, Md. “I’ll throw in some exciting things to tease them, drag them along, pull them to the next page and the next page. Until I’ve made them want to read the whole thing, so that on the last page, they can’t wait to sign up. It’s a whole progression—like a rocket.” So what are some of the techniques that fuel her designs? Color, size, leading, bursts and bolding, to name just a few. Here, Haller shares a

RB Industries’ Rob Murry on Converting Leads With Direct Mail
May 17, 2006

Among woodworkers, Hawk tools are in a league of their own. They are the kind of tools woodworking enthusiasts dream of getting and brag about owning. Not bad for a brand that only markets through direct channels—including direct mail, live events, Internet and telemarketing—and has been without a retail presence since its manufacturer RB Industries struck out on its own in the late 1970s after some 50 years of producing tools for the likes of Sears and Montgomery Ward. For President Robb Murry, the company owes much of this tremendous word of mouth and fervent customer loyalty to the strength of its customer service

Vary the Offer, Keep it Fresh
May 10, 2006

Want to prevent a successful offer from fatiguing? Consider making minor adjustments to your offer and use a slightly different variation each time you mail. Omaha Steaks, for example, mails retention and acquisition efforts on almost a weekly basis. According to the company’s Corporate Communications Director Beth Weiss, since April 2001, Omaha Steaks has been mailing a free burger promotion to customers, offering everything from six to 12 free burgers, and many variations in between. The offer used in one effort that mailed in February included a scratch-off game piece that reads “Scratch Here! For up to 12 FREE Burgers.” The winning number of burgers

Eight Hot Spots for Direct Mail Typos
May 10, 2006

Where are the eight most likely places in a direct mail campaign for a typo to appear? According to Gayl Curtiss, managing director of The Hacker Group, a direct marketing agency in Bellevue, Wash., marketers should pay close attention to the following elements of their direct mail campaigns: 1. Phone numbers, both call and fax—it’s easy to transpose numbers. 2. The company’s name—anywhere it appears. 3. Signatory’s name—you often don’t have a proofing tool to verify the correct spelling. 4. Terms and conditions—proofers often don’t read them. 5. Address information—wherever it appears. 6. Headlines—they’re big and people blow right through them. 7. Letter set-up—vendors often retype perfect copy from laser mechanicals. 8.