If it’s Not Broken, Don’t Fix it!

Written by: Julie Determann, Account Supervisor

EVERYONE knows about the Bed Bath & Beyond 20% OFF coupons. We selectively pick them out from our mailbox clutter, saving and stock piling them until needed…And, unfortunately for our wallet, that time comes along more often than expected. Every time a Bridal Shower, Graduation or Housewarming Party Invite arrives, we dig into our stack and head to the retail store, determined to purchase a perfect “cost-efficient” household gift.

Bed Bath & Beyond has successfully developed a well-known and coveted direct mail identity. These fun jumbo postcards have been arriving in our mailboxes for years. They are simplistic in terms of design and copy. No fancy product or store pictures, just big, blue and always 20% OFF.

Best part, these coupons we’ve grown to love never expire. Cashiers do not even check the expiration date because the coupons are always valid. They are also always for the same set amount 20% OFF a single item. Occasionally we might even get a surprise, “20% OFF an entire purchase”. As an added bonus, we have the ability to use “up to 5 coupons” per shopping transaction. Why would anyone choose to shop elsewhere? At Bed Bath & Beyond, you are guaranteed an automatic savings as long as you surrender your coupons.

Read more

No Respect...For Email






Written by Mark Weinstein, President and Owner

Rodney Dangerfield, the iconic comedian who passed away in 2004, was known for the catchphrase in his monologues, "I don't get no respect!."

The same might be said for email.  “No respect.”

With all the noise about the latest social media trends and changes, it’s difficult these days for email to get the respect it is due.  Let’s pay our respects to email.

Since email is very low-cost, it solidifies email marketing as probably the most cost-effective advertising method available today.  The results from our client’s email campaigns continue to reinforce this notion.

Read more

What Would Don Draper Do?

Written by Kim Chapman - Account Executive

Thanks to the hit TV show "Mad Men", when I tell people that I work at an advertising agency, I wonder if they picture me sitting around all day drinking whiskey on the rocks, coming up with an uber-creative idea for the next big brand, and asking myself, "What would Don Draper do?"
While some of that is partly true (definitely not the whiskey part), the reality of work at a direct marketing agency involves a whole other side.  The left side... of the brain.
Direct marketing is a different animal from general advertising.  It’s a scientific animal, in which you can use a clear call-to-action, track response and ROI, and then over time improve these measures by finding out what works, and what doesn’t.  (Aka, testing, testing, and … more testing.)
General advertising can be potentially effective at building someone’s emotional awareness or engagement with a brand. But if you want proof of impact on your bottom line, direct marketing is the way to go. This is always a good thing, especially for those with tight budgets.
A good direct marketing campaign will make sure not to use too much unbridled creativity, and a good amount of science (left brain) to ensure that your campaign is successful.

Too Much Information?

Post written by Kim Chapman

The other day, I received a postcard from my insurance company promoting coverage for dependents up to the age of 26, and/or for returning military dependents.  The problem is that I am a 29 year old who has never been in the military.  The scenario got me thinking about how important it is to be able to utilize customer information for any given campaign.  If my correct information would have been utilized, I may have received a relevant promotion that I could take advantage of.

In order to target the right audience, information has to be available. Most businesses obtain customer information through surveys or questionnaires. But as we know, some people (maybe you) are hesitant to give out too much information and this is where the problem arises.  Sometimes providing little or no information may not be in the best interest of the customer if it gets in the way of marketers sending them relevant, targeted promotions that would help them save money.

If you trust a company, and utilize them on a regular basis for a good or service, I would argue that you should provide them with as much information as possible about yourself (should they ask for it).

Read more

Postal Service QR Barcode Promotion Is Back for the summer. Don’t Expect to Save Very Much.

For the Summer 2011, the United States Postal Service (USPS) initiated an incentive program for First Class and Standard Class mailers using a Quick Response (QR) Code in their mailings.  These are codes that can be scanned by smartphones and lead to a personalized website landing page providing targeted offers, a coupon, an immediate response form, a video describing your product, etc.  (Check out this list for more QR Code ideas from Flyte Web Marketing)

Smartphones now comprise over 50% of the mobile phone users, and the percentage keeps growing every quarter. QR Codes are an excellent idea for the USPS since it merges printed direct mail with the growing mobile technology, and it must have been successful. The USPS is repeating the promotion for 2012 for Standard Class Mail sent in July and August.  To qualify the mailer must register in advance.

Last year’s incentive discount was 3%.  This year the discount has been reduced to 2%.  Any discount from the USPS is appreciated, but this discount amounts to $20 savings for every $1,000 in postage.  Not much of an incentive.

For example, for a mailing of 100,000 pieces at an average Standard Class postage rate of $0.262 per piece normally would be $26,200.  Add a QR Code to the mailing and the savings amounts to a whopping $524.

QR Codes are not very attractive and there are specific size and other requirements to make sure they can be scanned by smartphones.  We encourage clients to test QR Codes.  QR Codes are very actionable, can be tracked and measured, can increase overall response, and they're “cool”.  But, don’t add a QR Code simply for the USPS incentive discount.  It’s not much, and the cost to program the appropriate landing page may be more than the discount received.