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.
Time Inc. recently launched a publishing experiment called Mine, which combined reader-selected sections from eight of its publications with personalized ads run by one major advertiser (Lexus for this go-around). This publication is attempting to mimic the RSS (Rich Site Summary) feeds in printed form that are so popular on the web.
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.
The standard rule in direct mail testing is to roll out your control to the majority of your list and send a smaller panel of test packages to compare results. That's the safe bet, putting most of your eggs in your previously top-performing direct mail basket.
Renewal series add regular cash to your coffers and build loyal, long-term relationships. Yet many publishers ignore them or consider them an afterthought, lavishing money and creative capital on new acquisition packages instead. They leave easy money on the table, since it costs less to renew a subscriber than acquire one.