Pat Friesen & Co.

The Return of the Green Mail Debate
February 17, 2010

With the economic downturn, the green discussion seems to be somewhat muted. Not "Silent Spring"-like, but certainly palpable and, frankly, disturbing given the severity of global warming and other signs of environmental degradation. Similarly, just when so-called "green mail"—recycled envelopes, soy inks, green seals, environmental messaging, etc.—was building momentum, the economy tanked and seemingly took the green gang with it.

Reaching Younger Generations in the Mail
January 20, 2010

The common consensus is that the older the audience, the more direct mail-friendly it is. Thus, seniors and baby boomers are often considered better direct mail prospects than Gen Y and iGen (also called Gen Z), for example.

Boost Readership, Jump-start Response
July 1, 2008

Are you a writer, approving manager, agency client or business owner who writes and/or approves direct mail copy? Then read on. This column provides copywriting best practices based on experience; testing; and the wisdom of copywriting greats like Bob Stone, Herschell Gordon Lewis and Denny Hatch. Although the focus of this column is normally on direct mail, 99.9 percent of what you’re about to read also applies to copy for e-mail and other media used to generate response. Yep! The same basic principles really do apply. • Develop a copy platform that supports your business goal, whether that’s generating leads, sales, traffic, referrals

Rev Up Your Response
May 1, 2008

While I’m not an advocate of adding extraneous elements to mailings for the sake of being clever, I’ve learned to appreciate the response-generating value of bells and whistles, gadgets, and gizmos when used appropriately.

5 Ways to Get Out of Direct Mail’s Catch-22
April 23, 2008

Last year’s postal rate increase only sped up the minimization trend (vouchers and their ilk) among many direct mailers, who sought to lower their costs by downsizing their packages while hoping dearly that the response did not similarly shrink. Unfortunately, however, it turned out many companies, publishers, nonprofits and the like that used direct mail were caught in a catch-22, where they felt that higher postal costs meant they had no choice but to cut their efforts down if they wanted to remain profitable; trimming those efforts then depressed response to such an extent that profitability was endangered. “Minimization trends are nothing new,”

The ‘E’ Connection
March 1, 2008

This month’s column is an interview with e-mail marketing consultant and expert Jeanne Jennings. Jennings is an 18-year veteran of interactive marketing and product development, and she is a staunch direct marketer. Her area of expertise is permission-based e-mail marketing, and she works with medium- to enterprise-sized organizations, helping them become more profitable and productive with their online marketing initiatives. During her interactive marketing career, Jennings has helped organizations such as Hasbro Toys, the Mayo Clinic, Siemens AG, Verizon, Boston’s Museum of Science and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. She is also the author of “The Email Marketing Kit: The Ultimate Email Marketer’s Bible.”

Mind the Gaps
January 1, 2008

Happy New Year! With 2008 budgets in place and sales goals set, it’s time to think about using new tools to increase response and strengthen customer relationships, whether you use direct mail to sell direct, generate leads, or drive Web site or retail store traffic.

Open Sesame
November 1, 2007

Is the following scenario familiar? You’re at the mailbox, pulling out mail, screening for what you’ll toss and what you’ll keep. A favorite catalog or a mailing from your daughter’s favorite retail store catches your eye. You set it aside to take a closer look. Then, the “moment of truth” arrives: You try to open the mail piece. But, alas! You hit a major sticking point—figuratively and literally. In the process of struggling to open the mailing that’s “stuck together,” you rip it. Now, the piece is damaged goods. It’s no longer as eye-catching. Its original intrigue is wearing thin. You also can’t easily read

Direct Mail Road Signs
September 1, 2007

A hot spot is where your eye goes first when you look at a postcard, outer envelope, catalog spread, direct mail letter, space ad or even an e-mail. Most of us had our first experience with hot spots in elementary school when we looked for easy ways to study for tests. We wanted to pick out key points to review without rereading entire chapters. What did we do? We looked at chapter titles, subheads, terms in boldface type, maps, charts, graphs, photos and the captions under them. In other words, we looked at hot spots. From this experience, we’ve trained ourselves to look for eye-grabbing design