Tag Archive for mailing schedule

Understanding Marketing History

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.

E-mail as an Advertising Medium

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.”

Direct Mailing Trends

Target Marketing Magazine examined the last year and a half of the Who’s Mailing What Archive and concluded a few trends.


Repeat mail was up 12 percent in 2010. It now represents a full quarter of all direct mail. The reasons include mailers being budget-conscious and staying with efforts that are clearly working.


Mailing premiums has increased by over 6 percent so far this year compared to 2009. Now nearly 20 percent of all direct mail includes a premium offer. “According to Archive Director Paul Bobnak , among nonprofits, incentives have taken on greater importance. Usage doesn’t seem to have increased. Instead of one tote bag or aluminum bottle, they’ll offer two or three as a premium. And tote bags and blankets (which have been good premiums) have begun to show up as ‘freemiums’ being mailed to prospects.”


Personalization is also used more, a 19 percent increase from last year. Used in 35 percent of direct mail, help make mail relevant for the recipient.

Financial Services Offers Are In The Mail Again

Major credit card issuers are adjusting to new credit card marketing regulations and are mailing offers. Some have launched new products. The best example of this is Chase with their multiple new cards.

Social Media

Mailers are increasingly promoting social media connections (Facebook, Twitter, …) in direct mail, particularly retailers. QR codes have been popping up too, although without much attention being called to them.

Self Mailers Declining

The one trend that is going in the opposite direction is the usage of the self-mailer. It is down 15 percent from 2009, in part because of production cost. It’s still used in 43 percent of all direct mail.

USPS January 2011 Price Increases

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.

Political Campaigns

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.

Tips to Make Direct Mail Work Smarter

Direct mail remains a vital component of marketers’ programs. Direct mail is becoming more sophisticated and is capable of delivering higher results. Late last year Randy Spurrier shared his thoughts about ways to improve mail’s results in a post on IMedia Connection. Some direct marketers are transitioning away from “blast” campaigns and are moving toward highly integrated, direct mail-meets-online formats that combine relevant mailers, personal URLs (PURLs), triggered and targeted follow up communication, variable content, and more.

Creating a relevant dialogue with customers is becoming crucial today. Response rates for relevant mailers, are typically 2-4 times higher than non-relevant ones. When customized direct mail is combined with interactive elements such as PURLs, triggered follow-up, and additional relevant communications timed at just the right intervals, response rates can climb up to 10 times.

It’s fairly easy to transition from an un-targeted direct mail program to a next-generation, relevance-based one. Most marketers have all the data they need to create fully automated, relevant direct mail-meets-online programs today. The way to leverage this data painlessly is to implement technology. Solutions allow marketers to set up, run, and optimize marketing programs automatically.

Here are a few strategies to get you started.

Automate from the get-go. One-to-one marketing programs, of course, would be out of reach from a cost and time perspective if you had to manually change messaging and set delivery parameters for each individual person. To get started with there are ways to harness technology to send customized print mailers (each with a link to a PURL with relevant offers and recommendations), and then, depending on the customer’s actions, automatically send timely follow-ups all throughout the purchase process.

Get the message right. The segmentation modeling used to determine whom to mail to does not determine what to say to those people. How do you know what they want to hear? Implement rules and technology to leverage your data to guide a relevant message and individualized offer for each prospect. Use propensity-to-buy modeling and purchase analysis to identify topics of interest that will form the basis of your relevant messaging. This will be used to deliver relevant and personalized messages.

Maintain the dialogue. Guiding your customer through the purchase process at every step is key to boosting conversions, especially when it comes to considered purchases. Communicate at timed intervals with automated touches, PURLs with engaging advice and recommendations, and even outbound sales calls. Keep your marketing engine rule-based, allowing you to deliver data-driven messages and automatically “trigger” new touches based on customers’ interactive feedback.

For example, your marketing technology and rules should be able to trigger timely touches based on customer responses, inquiries, or purchases. Say you send a customized mailer with a link to a PURL to a prospect. If they don’t visit the PURL after one week, you could send a follow-up mailing. If they visit the PURL or phone the call-center but don’t close within five days, the engine would send a second follow-up print touch offering an alternative video recommendation or a more compelling promotion. The PURL could be updated to reflect the new offer or product recommendation communicated in each follow-up touch.

If you send your prospects relevant and fully-customized mailers — integrating technology — they’ll not only keep your mailer out of the recycling bin, they’ll reward your efforts by making more purchases.


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.

Get It Done!

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?

Example of Successful Multichannel Strategy

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.

Reasons to Mail Now

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.

Do More Marketing with Less Money

  • Stagger mailing schedules (200 piece mailings still qualify for presorted postage discounts)
  • Think about new ways to get more from your customer list
    • Would you tell a different story to someone based on where they live or the business is located?
    • Would you offer a deeper discount if they have not purchased from you in the last year?
    • Would updating your customer file with more details help you create more personalized messages?
  • Now is a great time to implement existing customer retention programs like newsletters, anniversary (their wedding or when they last purchased from you) letters or postcards, birthday cards, postcard reminders…
  • Get coop advertising support from your vendors
  • Cooperate with nearby businesses
  • Cooperate with similar but non competing businesses

We have more ideas please call us at 602-272-2100 and let us help you.