One of our favorite quotes is “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.
In a discussion with the members of LinkedIn’s Direct Mail Group, author Dave Lewis, reviewed the history of broadcast faxes as an advertising medium and made some interesting comparisons with e-mail. He concluded that e-mail works great for people who really know each other. As a marketing medium, it seems to be losing effectiveness because of its greatest advantage – low cost. The low cost is leading to more and more volume which is leading to increased filtering and blocked messages.
He concluded his thoughts by saying, “meanwhile your six or seven pieces of direct mail will be waiting patiently for you at home, like the family dog. You can take your shoes off, flip through the mail, and see if there are any intriguing offers from one of the folks smart enough to invest some money in getting your attention.”
The United Postal Service (USPS) will increase prices on January 2, 2011. The most noticeable will be the increase in the price of a first class stamp from $0.44 to $0.46. The post office is doing many things to help. They are releasing some new forever stamps in October. The stamps, featuring evergreen trees, can be purchased for $0.44 and used “forever” to mail first class letters.
Prices for Standard Mail and Periodicals will also go up about 5.6%. Knowing the facts in advance can help in planning for end of the year advertising and direct mail.
On November 2, 2010 we the people are going to elect 36 U.S. Senators, all 435 House of Representatives and 37 governors. During the coming days, many political candidates and interested parties will use direct mail because it is effective.
The USPS offers special services and some processing differences for political endorsements. Depending on the circumstances, the message may qualify for Standard Mail and/or Nonprofit Standard Mail prices.
The USPS offers this information for those who wish to use a special designation to facilitate processing of political mail.
“Any material mailed as First-Class Mail or Standard Mail for political campaign purposes by a registered political candidate, campaign committee or committee of a political party is classified as a “political campaign mailing.” An individual or organization recognized as such by the appropriate government (national, state, local) election control authority is considered to be a registered political candidate or party.
Political campaign mailings are identified and documented when deposited at Post Office acceptance units prior to entry into processing and distribution. Using a red “Tag 57, Political Campaign Mailing”, aids the Post Office in identifying the political campaign mailings. First-Class Mail and Standard Mail entered by a registered political candidate, campaign committee or committee of a political party can be identified by using “Tag 57” on the mailing containers. Use of “Tag 57” with eligible campaign mailings is optional.
Mailings made by organizations other than those listed above, even if promoting or endorsing political candidates, referendums and so forth, are not classified as political campaign mailings and cannot use “Tag 57.”
We strive to offer our experience and expertise to our customers to help them take advantage of every possible discount the USPS offers.
DMNews ran a great article titled “When marketing, travel through the four dimensions of time” by Paul Mandeville. They say “timing is everything”, it may not be everything but it sure can play a big part in the success of marketing efforts.
Mr. Mandeville suggests that in a marketing campaign timing has four facets:
Timing (Recency)– the nearness of a message to a customer event that triggers that message, for example, sending a coupon for related accessories within 3 days of purchase.
Frequency – the number of times you choose to send a similarly themed messages before you stop further attempts, for example customers should receive three messages from you within the first month of purchase and at least one message every three months for the first year or two after that trigger purchase.
Pacing – the amount of time between messages of a similar theme, for example sent the first message within 72 hours, and if no reply, send message #2 seven days after purchase, and if still no reply, send final message #3 ten days after purchase.
Sequencing – the act of coordinated, separate but related content.
The article stated that financial services and retail firms have been able to achieve a double digit lift in response, without increasing their discount offers, simply by using timing to their advantage. You can do the same. Direct mail is a great way to implement this strategy or include it as a part of your marketing that speaks directly to your customer when they want to hear from you.
Many people enjoy swapping stories of disasters, but the “saves” are so much more common. Mailing professionals often catch errors on a proof, suggest a redesign that saves handling or postage, fix mistakes on printed pieces with creative ingenuity and maybe some stickers, notice that the list is wrong, catch a huge number of duplicates, and work overtime to get the mail out in one day!
There are so many times when others in the chain (project leader, artist, layout, printer…) run into challenges and time delays. When the pieces are finally off the printing press, the deadlines have all been missed and keep slipping and all of a sudden we are a week away from “it” (a major sale, an event, the end of the month…). Then somehow, someway we as your direct mail shop get the mail to the post office and the pieces get delivered right on time.
What are you doing to survive and thrive right now? Do you still have the ‘git-er done’ attitude?
Practical Ecommerce tells about Fairytale Brownies’ online sales being primarily powered by printed catalogs mailed to approximately 1.8 million households annually. Fairytale Brownies expects to gross roughly $8 million in 2009, with around 60 percent of its revenue from online sales.
“The brownie gift catalog really drives a large portion of our business. Although we do most of our revenue through online sales, a lot of those customers find us through receiving our catalog, so I think there is still a big role for the printed catalog and direct mail pieces in the ecommerce business.”
“We did a total of six mail drops in 2009, and we printed multiple versions of the catalog that are mostly cover change-outs, like the September drop had the first few pages in a Fall theme and Halloween gifts; and the next drop featured Thanksgiving; and the next drop featured Christmas. But the core of the product pages remains the same because it’s less expensive to change out just a few of the outer pages.”
“A lot of the traditional mailing strategies still work very well for us, such as renting mailing lists and prospecting names. The more catalogs you mail, the more revenue you get, you have to be very careful to mail to targeted lists that are producing positive results, or you can over-mail and end up losing money.”
The financial results of Fairytale Brownies are excellent implementations of our suggestions of ways to save on printing.
There are no filters removing printed mail from good old-fashioned mailboxes.
Nobody likes an empty mailbox! Mail volume has decreased, a really good offer to the right person has a great chance of standing out.