A Funny Business Mailing
August 1, 2009

For some business-to-business mailings, all that's necessary are a lead generation self-mailer, a few benefits and a call to action. However, when you sell a complex product or service, you may need more real estate to showcase your offer.

Art That Moves
July 1, 2009

Sometimes a mailing comes together organically, with an inspirational story that connects with inspiring artwork and a powerful call to action. Such is the case with this mailing from the National Parkinson Foundation.

Renewing With a Basic Voucher
July 1, 2009

The voucher's biggest pros are its cost-effectiveness and good response rates. Some of the cons in using a voucher format are that there are too many vouchers in the mailstream, thus decreasing its impact, and the format does not offer enough real estate for direct mailers and copywriters to make sales. Even with these arguments on the table, there are still some instances where a voucher can be a perfect fit.

Beam Mail Up, Scotty!
July 1, 2009

The Norwegian company Tandberg, which provides high-definition video conferencing solutions for corporations of all sizes, wanted to get the attention of C-level executives in four verticals: finance, manufacturing, utilities and health care. It also wanted to get to them quickly. After all, its new line of products had been delayed, giving competitors a head start, so the firm needed a direct mail effort that would hopefully disrupt any sales process.

Consumer Reports Shows What It's Got
July 1, 2009

In this era of personalized messaging, direct marketing can become a dicey proposition for organizations that target a vast array of consumers. However, Consumer Reports, the consumer products education and empowerment magazine for consumer advocate nonprofit Consumers Union, uses its popular brand as an independent expert on all products to its advantage in reaching its wide-ranging audience.

Premium Watch: Telecommunications
July 1, 2009

Whether the economy is floundering or prospering, premium usage remains pretty steady throughout the mailstream. For the telecommunications sector, however, premiums have been employed less and less since a high point in 2005, when 36.3 percent of this sector's direct mail efforts included a premium offer (as measured by our Who's Mailing What! Archive). Each year since, premium usage has slipped-by 14 percent in 2006, 22 percent in 2007 and then 28 percent in 2008, which clocked in at less than half the premium usage percentage of 2005.

Make It Personal
June 2, 2009

Much like comedians tend to find the humorous side to any situation, creatives look for inspiration at every turn. Take, for instance, Carolyn Goodman, managing partner for San Rafael, Calif.-based direct marketing company Goodman Marketing Partners, who came up with an idea for a personalized T-shirt premium for her client, greater San Francisco/Bay area jazz radio station KCSM-FM, at her children's swim meet.

Before and After
June 1, 2009

One engaging and prevalent device commonly used to promote diet and weight-loss products is the before-and-after image. For example, not convinced that product X will trim inches off of your waistline? Just look at the "before" shot of a frowning, overweight customer and then the "after" picture of a slim, smiling customer.

Minor Elements That Make a Major Impact
June 1, 2009

The biggest psychological revolution in the past 30 years is the emergence of cognitive science: the study of the brain. And among cognitive science's biggest discoveries is that about 95 percent of our mental processes are unconscious. I'm not talking about Sigmund Freud's notion of the unconscious, with its repressed desires and childhood emotional traumas.

The Economist Addresses the Economy
June 1, 2009

Writing about the economic downturn in a direct mail package can be a sensitive subject. To date, only a handful of direct marketers have attempted to do so and gotten it right. You don't want to remind consumers of how bad things are and get them in a penny-pinching state of mind when you are trying to promote your product or service. But if your product or service provides added value to protect consumers during a downturn, then the faltering economy can, in effect, become a selling point.