By Tracy A. Gill Premiums are a mainstay of merchandising direct mail efforts. In 2003, 22 percent of merchandise mailings offered premiums, and 2004 is on track to match—maybe even surpass—that figure, with 24 percent of mailings in the sector offering premiums in the first half of the year. So what's in all these offers? Everything. Merchandising premiums are as varied as the merchandise itself, featuring everything from steaks and CDs to phone cards and cruises, in part because many merchandisers choose to align their premiums with their products. Merchandising efforts often have intuitive tie-ins that allow for premiums that speak

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