Jay van Wagenen

Premiums are known to boost open rates, response, cash with order and other kinds of consumer behavior. Read on for a few good tricks to using these gifts well in direct mail packages. 1. Editorial premiums work best. “Editorial premiums are inexpensive to create and ship, strongly identified with the product, and can be a powerful incentive to an information-hungry audience,” says Jay van Wagenen, owner of Pittsburgh, Pa.-based JVW Direct. She points out that merchandise premiums sometimes have a higher perceived value but tend to burn out faster, especially if many mailers use the same item. 2. Eschew subtlety. “I’m always surprised when

By Christen Gruebel Oh, the plight of poor, misunderstood postage. You certainly can't send mail without it. In truth, an outer envelope looks rather bare with an empty upper-right-hand corner; yet, mailers seem to harbor mixed feelings over just how neutral this territory actually is. One camp regards postage as nothing more than an expenditure, perhaps part of a tertiary round of testing (at best) reserved for only the largest mailers with equally large budgets. Others raise postage out of the confines of inconsequence and deem it an integral part of creative development. Caroline Zimmermann, president and CEO of The Zimmermann Agency,

Oh, the plight of poor, misunderstood postage. You certainly can’t send mail without it. In truth, an outer envelope looks rather bare with an empty upper-right-hand corner; yet, mailers seem to harbor mixed feelings over just how neutral this territory actually is. One camp regards postage as nothing more than an expenditure, perhaps part of a tertiary round of testing (at best) reserved for only the largest mailers with equally large budgets. Others raise postage out of the confines of inconsequence and deem it an integral part of creative development. Caroline Zimmermann, president and CEO of The Zimmermann Agency, even goes so far

By Hallie Mummert Rigorous. That's the best word to describe the work involved in developing a stellar renewal series. But as in all direct mail campaigns, rewarding is the word that illustrates what it means to roll up your sleeves, crunch the numbers and test your way into a high-performing series. If you think you've left a few testing stones unturned in your renewal series, the following trends might provide some food for thought. In print, quite a few specific approaches seem to be hot at the moment. But what's interesting is to note how little progress has happened in migrating to e-mail

By Hallie Mummert With no apparent trends on the horizon, mailers stick to the tried-and-true outer styles he word on the street is that marketers are starting to test and mail more campaigns. But, somehow, this upswing in mailing activity has not given many marketers the undeniable urge to venture into new waters with respect to envelope creative. "Overall, mailers are being conservative and not 'pushing the envelope,' so to speak," says Rebecca DePriest, a freelance designer in Nashville, Tenn. Sticking close to proven creative strategies is a sign that while direct mail budgets are getting larger, marketers still have to plan for reliable

Edited by Paul Barbagallo & Hallie Mummert A successful direct mail campaign requires a careful balance of list, offer and creative—and the processes that secure each one of these components are rife with opportunities for miscommunication and good old-fashioned mistakes. Throw in multi-variable testing, and you've got a breeding ground for errors. But not every mistake is an unqualified disaster. In compiling these examples for a more light-hearted look at the direct mail process, we found that marketers were equally appreciative of the lessons learned from mistakes that did not have a happy ending. In fact, copywriter Susan Fantle pointed out that

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