direct mail, Marketing

Victoria, Golf and Testing

Golf 2011-11-734

Every magazine’s sales tool: the “blow-in” card.

The beauty of direct mail is that you can test to find out what works.

So that is why Victoria’s Secret and Golf Magazine enjoy your attention today.

Victorias 2011-11-735

“Pretty” is nice, but in direct mail it’s the offer that counts.

Opening the December issue of Golf Magazine, 4 different blow-in cards fluttered onto the kitchen table.

Why 4?   Because there are a number of triggers to test on the reader.

Golf 2014-11-726

This card focuses on the discount off regular price.

Golf 2014-11-728

The FREE gift is the sales incentive here.

Golf 2014-11-729

Buy one, get one free for a friend, plus a FREE gift.

As it turns out three of the cards have identical offers, but each with a different deal. Or look. One will feature the discount off the cover price. Two will bathe the reader in yellow ink, but one of those is really pushing the FREE gift–a really cool Golf Distance Finder, with “BEST DEAL!” screaming to check the top box. The fourth card is a gift sub card, making a two-for-one deal, plus a very classy Free Gear Bag.

Each card is key-coded to track which works best. Kudos to the subscription manager who recognizes that one deal does not suit all people.

Based on response, you can bet they will tweak the next set of cards, but odds are, they won’t reduce the count: four.

Now turn to Victoria’s Secret, where we get two mailers within the same week, each taking pre-eminent positioning at the kitchen table during lunch.

Victorias 2014-11-733

The mission of these cards is to drive traffic. At least one will snag the reader.

May I note that the “staff” over at Victoria’s don’t probably enjoy lunch?

Fortunately, they do get full, heated-room privileges, which accounts for their restive, but somewhat hungered composure.

The two mailings are spectacular for their origami and construction. Best of all, each mailer contains 4 different mini-cards with specific deals.

Each card’s mission is to entice the shopper to get to the store.
If the Free panty doesn’t do it, the Free Tote Bag will.

Victoris Secret 2014-11677

The advantage of personal direct mail– the ability to track and analyze.

The production on these pieces is clever. One is a 10-page booklet, with 4 mini-cards attached to one page. The back of each card has a live bar code on it. Meaning they can track response to the mailing, the offer, and yup, to the shopper too.  Yikes!

Victoris Secret 2014-11676

Four cards in a 10-page mailing: unstoppable!

The cards themselves are 24 mil, meaning for you lay folks, thick enough to jimmy a hotel lock.

But they are small, demanding less space in your wallet or purse.

I recall as a small youngster having a wad of direct mail coupons which I pretended were dollar bills….kept them in my plastic wallet. I liked flashing “money” when shopping with my mother. I don’t think she would have gone for the Victoria’s cards so much.

Testing through direct mail offers the luxury of control: distribution, offer, targeting and tracking.   When done well, marketers can get the most for their dollar spent.  That means they learn to send you things you like, and don’t send you things that turn you off.

Sharing testing strategies across different media, like mail and magazines is also productive, and enhances perspective.

Gee Dad

“Gee Dad, it looks better over here!”

So I wonder, could we test the FREE Golf Distance Finder with Victoria’s Secret?


Thanks for reading this far!   I hope your mail box provides as much enjoyment as does mine!


direct mail, Marketing

Turning Someday Into Now

What would be your reaction to mailing a hundred or so wedding invitations, and only 2 or 3 people show up?   After celebrating with champagne, a direct mailer would happily plot through the night about doing it again tomorrow.   And maybe bumping up the appetizers a bit.


Every good offer adds an incentive.

The challenge of direct marketing is to create the irresistible offer.    On a Don Corleone level if possible, but within the USPS regs.   The closest I can think of is the IRS: “Tell us how much money you have left and we will take it.”   Their mailbox overfloweth.

The thing is, all the targeting, the overlays, clustering, time-stamping and regression analysis can get you to the right person at the peak of their tumescent desires, yet, they don’t commit.  Why?

MW 2.30

Long after the grapefruit is gone, you can still treasure the free spoon.

It’s the offer, or course.  More to the point, it’s the added incentive offer that pushes the buyer over.

For instance: you may like the idea of four monthly $25 shipments of 15 ruby grapefruit, but you don’t budge.

Then, they throw in a set of 4 serrated, stainless steel grapefruit spoons and you can’t dial fast enough.    Or the showercap company that bowls you over with a “Fast Fifty” deal promising a Mystery Gift to the speediest responders.

That’s how to convert “someday” into “now”.   By the way, serrated spoons are impossible to use on a grapefruit, but once an idea has taken hold…

And give the IRS credit too.   They have learned how to move you from:  “I dream about some day when I will file my return” to  “Jiminy, I gotta do that right now!”

Their incentive offer–jail time!

I recently received a direct mail offer from a funeral service company.   Sorry, “Memorialization Service” company.   A discreet letter promoting the many benefits of cremation.

It is a ticklish subject only made comfortable to discuss, thanks to poet Robert Service.    He penned ‘The Cremation of Sam McGee’ so Johnny Cash could recite it to us.

Anyway, the company offers me a free booklet to help me make up my mind.   Am I reaching for my pen?     I don’t think so.


“I took the bill-me-later option!”

But then, they throw in the dealmaker: “WIN a pre-paid cremation.  Return this card etc…   Last month’s winner is…”,  and they go on to identify by name, one lucky fellow who can now pack his bags with confidence.

I won’t call it a barn burner, but it certainly ups the offer.

Still I was a little curious over the difference between winning a free cremation, versus a pre-paid cremation.  Does that mean I forfeit the bill-me-later option?

And then I wondered too, is this transferrable?    Say I was hit by lightning.   Will they do me like a twice-baked potato?

And then, if I did win, how do they break the news?   Did the lucky mope who won last month get told immediately, or is he waking each morning  wondering if today’s the day?     Will it be a knock on the door from the prize committee chairman himself?

“I have good news and bad news, Mr. Brown.”


So I have not quite tipped into the “now” column yet for the cremation offer.

But wait, there IS more!    Way down in the fine print on the reply form–tiny mouse type– is the statement: “Vermont residents may omit return postage.”

There it is!      The final component of the irresistible offer.

Vermont is beautiful in the fall.  I am packing now.