Direct Mail

Direct Marketer of the Year: Beth O’Rorke, COO and Vice President, The Economist
October 1, 2004

Playing by the old rules—and winning big. In 1981, Beth O’Rorke had been out of work for three months after spending a year as circulation manager for a start-up magazine called Prime Time, which had run out of money. Robert Cohn of the PDC circulation modeling consultancy steered O’Rorke to The Economist, a British magazine that needed someone to take charge of its direct mail, which she could do in her sleep. On her way to the interview with circulation director Peter Kennedy, O’Rorke bought a copy of the publication at a 42nd Street newsstand and blinked in disbelief. Here was a skinny little

Creative Corner: I’m a New Mover
October 1, 2004

So where are the direct mail campaigns? Greetings from Florida. I moved here permanently in the middle of June to be close to my mother. Now, instead of commuting from New York to Miami, I commute from Miami to New York. My staff, Michael, Dwain and Pepper, is down here with me, and the rest of our merry crew works out of our office in New Haven, Conn. Our new office is on the second floor of the lovely and brand-new Harbormaster’s office in a marina in Hollywood, which is about halfway between Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach. I like the view: water, yachts

Customer-Friendly Order Forms
October 1, 2004

24 tips to make your order forms work hard so your customers don’t have to Direct marketing guru Bob Stone once observed that order forms are the “moment of truth.” While your letter, brochure and other inserts spur people to action, the physical act of response comes down to filling out and returning the order form. The job of an order form is not to persuade but to make response easy and quick: It’s a facilitator meant to keep the action going and not get in the way. Here are some ideas to consider implementing to make your order forms work harder, so

Modeling Brings New Life to TV Guide
October 1, 2004

Problem: Declining circulation Solution: Build a relational database to support modeling and customer segmentation Result: Better targeted offers boost response to acquisition and renewal campaigns A household name for 50 years, TV Guide was feeling the pain of competing TV listing sources and a subsequent drop in newsstand sales in the late 1990s. Its circulation steadily declined by 20 percent over the course of a decade. But thanks to an aggressive modeling strategy, the tide turned in 2003. With a renewed focus on its subscribers and a relational database, TV Guide’s circulation once again is climbing. In the fall of 1999, Hairong

Editor’s Notes: Bring Back Fun Mail
October 1, 2004

Do you remember the days when the direct mail in your mailbox was more than catalogs and plain white envelope packages, when you might come home to a direct mail effort that charmed and entertained you from the outer envelope teaser and graphics to the letter, brochure and order form? I don’t know about you, but I miss those days. The main culprits of boring mail are budget cuts and increased competition, convincing mailers to use blind outers and price-oriented presentation styles to bring in orders with a strong pay-up percentage. Sure, professional discount vouchers and blind outers work, but these approaches fill the

Money in the Bottle, the Bank Bag ... and the Trash Can
September 1, 2004

Cheaper doesn’t always equal better. When CSi Complete, a company that provides customer satisfaction indexing for auto body shops, was looking to expand its customer base, it decided it was worth the extra money to send a little more than a standard mail package. Working with Positive Response, a direct marketing consultancy in Dublin, Ohio, CSi Complete orchestrated a three-step dimensional mail campaign to get the attention of the busy owners of auto body shops and encourage them to set up telephone meetings with a sales representative. First, the company sent a message in a bottle—a 32-oz. sport water bottle that served as a

Show Them How Much You Care
September 1, 2004

Add greeting cards to your customer contact repertoire. I have a confession: I am a saver. I save price tags. I save trade publication articles. I save greeting cards. And I save direct mail pieces. These last two combine quite well, as I have plenty of samples of greeting cards used as direct mail. Consider using greeting cards as a viable format in your direct mail marketing. A growing number of companies are using greeting cards to build loyalty and increase sales. With the holiday greeting card season just around the corner, now might be a good time to test the idea. But don’t

Balancing Act
August 1, 2004

Special Olympics focuses on long-term donor value while continuing to invest in acquisition Having an eye toward long-term donor value means you can’t just focus on getting good response to your next mailing campaign. You have to think in terms of donor lifecycles—from first-time renewals through retention and even to recapturing lapsed or dormant donors. As Joan Wheatley, vice president of donor development for Special Olympics Inc., knows, any one of these existing donor segments with whom you’ve established a relationship is likely to have a higher lifetime value than a batch of just-acquired names. For example, when it comes to renewal mailings, Special

Create a Winning Lead Dialogue: How to Optimize Your Contact Strategy
August 1, 2004

Nothing in this world is pure, and direct mail is no exception. Direct mail isn’t purely a marketing medium. When done properly, it’s a combination of marketing and sales. Review the best direct mail programs you can think of; they will all reflect this fact. Given the close relationship of marketing and sales, creating great direct mail requires that you: • work to avoid some of the critical mistakes even seasoned professionals fall into; • be able to adjust your lead flow and quality to the needs of your sales team; and • get maximum value out of every lead. Go Far

Prep Work
July 1, 2004

Strong direct mail copy starts with detailed market and product research The first preparation for writing direct mail copy that gets results is to pack in at least 30 years of life experience and, somewhere along the line, do some selling … if it isn’t too late to suggest that. It also will help if you diversify your life experience as much as possible. For example, even if you’re pushing 40, you should not ignore MTV, Fox and VH-1 TV channels. At the other end of the spectrum, America is getting older. And older folks, historically, have been great direct response customers. The overall