Monthly Archives: June 2008

Getting Ready For Variable Image

Four-color variable image mail is, hands-down, proving to be the single most successful innovation in mail advertising since the invention of the envelope. With success stories of mailers who have received response rates as high as 80% and return on investment rates in the one-thousand-percent range, advertisers everywhere are beginning to take a serious look at this new technique.

“How do I get started?” Actually, it’s easier than you think.

The ability to vary pictures, images and text based on what you know about the recipient all starts with taking a good look at the data file that you will use in your mailing.

For instance, is the recipient male or female? If “male,” you may want to design your images, text, and motif for a male or masculine point of view. Whether working with tools in the garage, cars and trucks, or maybe even a sport such as football, basketball or baseball. If “female,” you’ll want to tailor your images, text and motif to more of a feminine angle, possibly, with images of shopping, family, health and fitness, and so forth. 

If “gender” isn’t one of the stored columns in your database, there are several software packages that we can use to assign gender, based on the prospect’s first name. Keep in mind that you will need a “default” non-gender-specific motif for instances where the recipient’s first name could be either male or female such as “Francis” or “Jackie.”

Of course, the more information you have about a recipient, the easier and more effective your message will be. But, lack of information is not as detrimental as you might think. More often than not, the information is there; it just takes a little imagination to capitalize on it.

For instance, the city, state and zip can give you a lot of information, if you think about it. Does this person live in upscale Metro-West, downtown Orlando, or out in rural Eustis? If you are mailing in the middle of winter, does this person live near the beach in Florida or in Green Bay, Wisconsin? Is the address type an “SFDU” (single-family dwelling unit) or an apartment complex? All these little pieces of information can fit together to allow you to produce a variable image and text mail piece that is targeted specifically toward that person. Your message and offer becomes relevant and personal to the recipient, which results in much higher response rates.

Remember, designing successful variable image advertising campaigns starts with your data file. Try and put yourself in the shoes of your prospect and what they deal with on a day-to-day basis.                 

Going “Green” – And Saving $$ – Digital Print On Demand

Just in case you’ve been living in a cave over the past year, “Going Green” is the new initiative and battle cry for 2008 and beyond. It’s in the news, It’s on radio and television commercials. Automobile manufacturers are building Hybrids. New fuel resources are seriously being investigated. It’s all the rage.  It’s what happening now! New environmental issues such as global warming and preserving our natural rain forests as well as rising fuel and transportation costs dictate that we all begin to be a little more responsible with what resources we have left.

In fact, I predict that over the next 5 years, you will see mandates from the large users of printed material that their print buyers must begin to use Digital Print On Demand rather than traditional offset print.

Digital print on demand allows you to print only what you need, when you need it.  Because it is printed in smaller quantities and “on-demand”, it is always current – never obsolete.  An InfoTrend study done in 2003 showed that, on average, 12.6% of all printed material, nationwide, sitting on pallets in warehouses becomes obsolete and must be thrown away before the first piece is ever used. A study by Xerox back in 2002 showed that, on average, businesses will spend $4 in usage, storage, obsolescence and shipping of printed material for every $1 actually spent in printing the material in the first place.

Does that make any sense to you?

So, save some trees. Be “eco-friendly”. Go “Green” and save money at the same time! Use Digital Print On Demand from Fulfillment Partners – Millennium Marketing Group.

Repositional Notes” To Become Permanent

The USPS has petitioned the Postal Regulatory Commission to make repositional notes a permanent option on all mail. The PRC has 15 days to consider the measure; but, since it is not a controversial decision, they are expected to approve the regulation immediately.

The “repositional notes,” more commonly referred to as “sticky notes” or “post-it notes” can be removed from the front of a mail piece and “repositioned” or re-affixed to another object (for instance, your refrigerator), giving your mail piece an extended life after the mail piece itself is read and disposed of.

The notes were first introduced in 2005 as a one-year experiment by the Postal Service and have been renewed in 2006 and 2007.

Other than the normal postage, the Post Office charges an additional ½ cent on first-class mail and 1.5 cents on standard mail and periodicals for those wishing to have the sticky notes as part of their mail piece.

Fulfillment Partners – Millennium Marketing Group maintains the automated equipment on-site to perform this service for you.