Editor's Notebook: Dancing in December
December 1, 2004

By Hallie Mummert In recent chats with creative pros, I've heard that direct mail work is picking up—and not just for holiday campaigns. Copywriters that serve the publishing, insurance and merchandise sectors say they are busier than ever, if not back to pre-Sept. 11 levels. Considering that Dan Minnick, Experian's vice president, postal and industry services, is predicting a possible 16-percent rate increase for Standard Class mail in the first quarter of 2006, it's definitely time to make hay while the sun shines. A whopping postal rate increase need not be your only impetus to test new ideas. The results of a recent Vertis

20th Anniversary Special: Direct Mail's Biggest Trends and Their Current Impact
October 1, 2004

By Hallie Mummert An old saying promises that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat its misadventures. This is true of direct mail, where cutting-edge marketers study the successes and failures of the past in the hope of replicating winners and avoiding losers. In researching the last 20 years of direct mail, as covered by Inside Direct Mail (which launched in 1984 as Who's Mailing What!), I found that many current trends have deep roots in direct mail history. It also became apparent that certain mailing preferences might die off, only to be resurrected when the right conditions exist again.

The Ins Of Outers
August 1, 2003

Cost-Effective, Response-Driving Bells and Whistles for Your Outer Envelope By Paul Barbagallo As part of the pressure to maintain the vigor and allure of long-term direct mail packages under budget constraints, mailers must vet the outer envelope. Don Schoenleber, vice president of sales, new product and business development for Vertis Direct Marketing Services, says in today's rough economic climate, the outer envelope has to do more of its job than ever before. "Say you have a #10 [envelope package], for example. It may be that this particular format can carry your message and deliver a reasonable response rate," Schoenleber says. "But

The Ups and Downs of Inline Production
June 1, 2003

By Sharon R. Cole Answering the question of whether to go inline or offline when planning how to process mailings may seem simple. Particularly when thinking in terms of run size. It's fairly well known that it generally makes more sense to run jobs consisting of 250,000 pieces or more through inline, while it's more cost-effective to run smaller jobs conventionally. But there are other issues to consider before going inline. For instance, while marketers may not be overly satisfied with certain inline imaging or design issues, they may be swayed by its high level of personalization and cost advantages. Either way, understanding

Impact Your Bottom Line
October 1, 2002

By Ted Gaillard How to Assess Postal Costs and Mailing Logistics. Mailers have been implementing a variety of methods to reduce their customer-acquisition costs—but still there is one major component with potential to improve cost savings: postage. While mailers actively work to reduce their design, data and manufacturing costs, they typically are not concentrating on reducing their total postal costs. Postage, which is one of the largest cost components of a direct mail program, can have a significant impact on the bottom line. By realizing the contribution that a fully developed mail and logistics plan can bring to a campaign, mailers can better