Tracy A. Gill

The idea that working with the right marketing partners can help a mailer both gain entrée with new audiences and deliver added incentive for its existing base is gaining momentum within the direct mail community. To wit, over the last year, the Who’s Mailing What! Archive has seen a number of mailers, including Don Dion, Pitney Bowes and Kiplinger’s, kick their mail efforts up a notch by joining forces with other like-minded marketers. Another indication that this trend is starting to catch on is the inclusion of both a session and a roundtable on the topic at the Direct Marketing Association’s 21st Annual Circulation Day

“In this book, you get dozens of suggestions, strategies, recommendations and rules of thumb with the potential to double or triple your response rates, writes Robert Bly in the introduction to his 2006 book “Bly on Direct Marketing: 258 ways to double your response—based on a quarter century of proven results” (Merit Direct Press, $49). As the subhead suggests and reading the book will attest, the term “dozens” is a bit of an understatement. Indeed, this is 293 pages packed with the kind of actionable ideas that marketers, especially those on the creative side of the business, clamor for. Touching on such varied topics

By Tracy A. Gill Typically, retail mailers tend to rely on everyday discounts, special sales and an appealing merchandise mix to drive foot traffic to their brick-and-mortar locations. However, when it came to attracting shoppers in the early weeks of the 2006 holiday season, retailers used premiums in record amounts—about 30 percent in November 2006 to be exact. While that number may not be all that impressive, consider this: In the 12-month period leading up to November, retailers averaged 11.7 percent premium use. In the 12-month period prior, that number was 13.3 percent.

During a session at the Direct Marketing Association’s annual conference in October, Dave Marold, director of direct marketing for Livonia, Mich.-based AAA Life Insurance, partnered with consultant and author Jeanette McMurtry, of Vail, Colo., to give a presentation about the concept of emotional selling propositions, aka ESP, which McMurtry describes as a message that “appeals to the one real trigger of sales—emotional fulfillment.” “Traditionally, marketers have always developed a marketing program around a unique selling proposition,” she continues. “But we live in a day and age when it’s very difficult for a company to be unique. And that isn’t what’s drawing customers for a lifetime

A reply device can be more than just the means by which prospects share their information; it can be an active and effective part of your sales message, according to direct mail veteran Sandra Blum. In her book, “Designing Direct Mail That Sells,” Blum outlines 19 questions that you can use as a guideline to determine whether your response mechanism simply takes orders or leads to them: * Is it easy to understand? * Is it easy to find? * Is there a clear statement of the offer? * Does it highlight the benefits? * Does it encourage action? * Does it spell out how to respond? * Does it highlight

The best way for Joshua Mellberg, president and founder of Tucson, Ariz.-based financial planning firm Senior Advisors Wealth Management, to sell his company’s investment services is to meet with prospects face-to-face. And over the past few years, he has found direct mail is the key to getting his foot in that door. “We do lead-generation seminars that allow prospects to see what we are about, what services we offer,” Mellberg explains. “For me to get in front of people, the most cost-effective way is mailers. … We’ve done telemarketing and it’s getting harder with the do-not-call lists, hiring the staff, constantly tweaking the [script]. We’ve

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