Direct Mail

B-to-B Special Report: Keep ‘Em on the Hook
December 1, 2004

For MidCap Business Credit, a commercial lending institution that special-izes in loans for firms with credit ratings of B or lower, the challenge is not just refining the list selection process to isolate the best prospects, but also to anticipate when these firms will be in the market for working capital. The answer, says Lee Marc Stein, proprietor of Lee Marc Stein Ltd., a direct marketing consultancy and creative services firm in Hauppauge, N.Y., that created this campaign for MidCap Business Credit, was a straightforward pitch that offered respondents two levels of response. MidCap conducted its first direct mail test a few months ago,

Hook Them With Your Copy
November 1, 2004

If you can get people to spend more time reading your direct mail, you’re likely to generate more response One of the most eye-opening things I’ve learned during my 25-year career of writing direct mail copy is that people don’t read every word I write—even those who truly are interested in what I’m selling. And they certainly don’t read it from start to finish. Instead, most people scan copy, looking for reasons either to keep reading … or toss it. Even those who ultimately respond spend less than three or four minutes reading the copy it took you (or your writer) days or weeks

It’s All About the Offer: Time to Pull the Trigger?
November 1, 2004

Technology enables marketers to customize direct mail offers beyond personalization Traditional direct mail personalization techniques allow you to customize communications at the group level, using information such as age, income, location and education. However, these techniques cannot address the fact that every segmentation group is comprised of individuals with very different wants, needs, attitudes and buying behaviors. Trigger programs give marketers added power to act on individually supplied facts about what each customer actually wants and needs rather than statistical inferences. Direct response trigger programs use an individual’s responses to media, input, interactions, purchase transactions and even complaints to deliver a fully customized marketing message at

It’s All About the Offer: Marketing on the Left Side of the Brain
November 1, 2004

Using data, you can focus solidly on the customer -- not the product -- to make more effective offers. Back in the 20th century, sales and marketing geniuses were American business heroes—they built great sales forces that built great companies, and created great ads that built great brands. But during the past 25 years, technology changed the rules. Now and forevermore, marketing geniuses will be guided not by intuition but by predictive analytics. In the future, marketing geniuses increasingly will use an understanding of customer behavior to offer the right product, at the right price, at the optimum time. Forrester Research analyst Eric Schmitt

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

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

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