To Stand Out, You Have to Stick OutPosted on Friday, July 1st, 2005 by Self Employed Web Team
Let the United States Post Office help you put more ‘Wow!’ into your mailed advertising
Every day, small businesses send out millions of pieces of mailed advertising, hoping their mailers will increase business and drive up profits. Often, the response is disappointing, leaving many businesses wondering what they could do to improve their chances of getting noticed. What many small businesses fail to consider, however, is that the very service delivering the mailers could be a great resource for improving their look and effectiveness. “The Postal Service is working harder than ever to show that direct mail is not your father’s advertising,” says George Hurst, the Postal Service’s Brand Manager for Direct Mail. In keeping with that, the USPS has launched some new, innovative advertising tactics to support direct mail.
The first of these new products, Customized MarketMail (CMM), can be designed into virtually any shape and size between a standard letter (3.5 inches by 5 inches) and the largest flat (12 inches by 15 inches). In addition, almost any standard mail item—business reply cards and envelopes, coupons and coupon booklets, thin merchandise samples, promotional magnets, and other marketing material—can be attached to CMM pieces.
The first company to take advantage of this new advertising tool was Great Circle Family Foods, a Krispy Kreme franchisee in the Los Angeles area. Almost two years ago, after its first round of mailings that included a clever mailer shaped like a box of doughnuts, the company received an 11-
percent response rate—more than three times the group’s typical response rate for unsolicited mailings.
To better leverage your mailer’s placement, the Postal Service also offers a special, low rate for a single advertising supplement—often a multi-media CD, product sample, or catalog—that accompanies or “rides along” with a magazine in a full wrapper, polybag, or envelope. These ride-alongs can either be used to reinforce existing print advertising within the host periodical or be positioned as a kind of “personal recommendation” from a publication with whom a business has yet to have an established relationship.
Tennis Week Magazine, based in Rye, NY, was looking for ways to increase both its circulation and advertising revenue, so Selina Patterson, Tennis Week’s circulation manager, sought out companies interested in purchasing a ride-along. Babolat, a manufacturer of tennis racquet string with a small marketing budget opted to give it a try.
So, along with an issue of Tennis Week, subscribers recently also received a CDsized box with a free sample of Babolat string as well as a mini-brochure about the company.
“This ride-along mailing was successful for Babolat because it boosted brand recognition of the Babolat Xcel Premium (our top end synthetic string) and created demand for this product within the U.S. market,” remarks Marc Pinsard, marketing director for Babolat North America. “After the mailing, many tennis dealers added this Babolat string in response to customer inquiries for the product.”
Whether you call them “stickies” or “Post- Its®,” repositionable notes (RPNs) are a another great marketing tool that the USPS can now attach to almost any envelope, catalog, newspaper, or postcard. The removable, 3-inch by 3-inch paper advertising messages are easy for potential customers to peel off and place on a
variety of surfaces, including calendars, telephones, computer monitors and refrigerators.
Last year, when First Charter Bank in North Carolina tested RPNs on direct mail to both existing customers and prospective customers, it reported a 40 percent increase in response rate in both categories. Likewise, the Medical Management Institute, located just outside Atlanta, lifted its response rate by more than 45 percent by calling attention to its medical coding books with a RPN.
Along with customized market mail and ride-alongs, the Postal Service’s Hurst says repositionable notes are just one among many tools that the USPS offers small businesses to help them achieve their marketing
goals. “Whether their objective is to increase response rates, generate sales and orders, or to increase open and read rates, the Postal Service is always looking for ways to offer greater value and higher response rates to direct mail advertisers.”