Who's Mailing What?
Market-specific trends shed some light on what it takes to get mailers opened and responses generated
INSIDE DIRECT MAIL is a monthly publication offering reviews and analyses of the plethora of mailers being sent out across the United States. Many of the pieces are catalogued in the magazine's "Who's Mailing What? Archive," and are used to generate the MailWatch section featured in each issue. Here, BFL&S reviews some of the trends identified in the column throughout 2005.
To Each His Own
Specific markets and business sectors have clear format preferences for reaching target markets. For instance, nonprofits favor envelope packages, as opposed to self-mailers, and typically use freemium and premium response boosters when seeking donations. On the other hand, the business-to-business sector and merchandise marketers prefer self-mailers, particularly four-color postcard designs. For retailers, personalized greeting cards offering merchandise discounts are an effective way to target lapsed customers.
Interestingly, David Yost, general manager for Roanoke, Virginia-based InfoSeal, observed that many distributors experienced with traditional envelope-package mailers are realizing the value of self-mailers, including quick turn times. "We may be given artwork and data for large-volume projects of 60,000 pieces or more one day, and the job has to be in the mail stream two days later," he said. "You could never turn jobs like this at the speeds we are turning them using other formats."
Automotive dealerships and mortgage companies are huge markets for self-mailers, and Yost said orders for the retail sector—often incorporating a loyalty card for in-store discounts on specific days—are increasing.
MailWatch also reported merchandise marketers and publishers are most likely to use poly bags in mail campaigns. For instance, magazine publishers will send out poly-bagged sample issues to grow subscriptions, with the standard, clear-style poly bags being replaced by flashier designs. And, automotive companies' mailings, traditionally heavy on graphics, are balancing images with relationship-building copy for a customer-centric approach.