Ray worked with B-2-B and Consumer clients throughout the world ... including USA, Canada, Mexico, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the Middle-East, Central & South America, Africa.

This website is a compilation of Ray's 10 years on the Web.

The Works of Marketing with Ray INDEX

February 4, 2003 • Volume 2 Issue 32

Billion Dollar Direct Mail Package

Yes, you read that right.

The word is billion, with a 'B'.

A tick over 3 decades ago the first "On a beautiful late spring afternoon, twenty-five years ago, two young men graduated from the same college.. .." letter went out. It's been arriving in mail boxes around America ever since.

You, if you are in business at just about any level, in almost every industry, have received this appeal. If you're like me, you've received the same, or a very similar package, many times. Dozens. .. even scores of times.

Why? Why does this upscale and prestigious organization ... The Wall Street Journal. .. continue to mail this simple monarch size letter package? The answer is as simple as the package; it still works.

Over the decades this piece of direct mail as brought to WSJ in excess of $1,000,000,000. Ten figures of income.

Scattered about my working table are nine Journal subscription packages. Seven of them look, from the envelope, to be the "original" version, or very close. Two others are complete different - being tested against the winner of all time.

Let's look at what's come to me. .. all within a one year time span. In an attempt to share with you what I see, here's a chart;

(The "O" in the first column means this is an original style package.

There are 7 versions of the original package in this collection.

Ditto means it is the same as the box immediately above the ditto box.

Gty is short for guarantee. BREp = business response envelope.

OGEp = outgoing mailing envelope. b/w = black & white. Wks = weeks.

WSJ is short for The Wall Street Journal. Dow is short for Dow Jones, who owns the WSJ.)

package/mailer OGEp, Size & Color Letter or not Flyer ? Y/N Offer Reply Coupon BREp, Size & color Out postage
1.Test #10 pale green none 7x7"
4 color
1 fold
26 week
11 x 7
2 color & screen
white #9
postage paid
meter postage
2.Test 6X9 white w/teaser offer yes,
2 sides
2 color
no 52 wks $175
26 wks $89
Response device attached to letter white #9 postage paid printed bulk indicia
3. "Oa" WSJ monarch pin-strip original b/w letter no 26 wks $89
52 wks $175
3 x 7
2 color
1 side
Gty stub
3x 6 white postage paid ditto
4. "Ob" WSJ/Dow plain monarch
original letter w/2nd color no 26 wks $89 /
52 wks $175
ditto 3x 6 white w/Dow postpaid ditto
5. "Oc" WSJ/Dow plain monarch
ditto no 8 weeks$29 ditto ditto ditto
6. "Od" WSJ/Dow plain monarch
ditto 3 x 73 color2 sides 26 wks $89 /52 wks $175 ditto ditto ditto
7. "Oe" WSJ/Dow white monarch w/teaser none 7x7"
2 color, screen
1 fold
50% off26 wks$44.50 Responsedevice part offlyer ditto ditto
8. "Of" WSJ/Dow plain monarch
pin-strip sunburst teaser
original letter w/2nd color 3 x 7
3 color
1 side
special offer
50% off 2 months @$7.28/month 3 x 7
2 color
1 side
Gty stub
ditto ditto
9. "Og" WSJ/Dow monarch pin-strip red copy teaser original letter w/2nd color 3 x 7
3 color
1 side
special offer
50% off 2 months @$7.28/month 3 x 7
2 color
1 side
Gty stub
ditto ditto

If there is nothing else quickly obvious, it is there is consistency with WSJ subscription direct mail.

All except the first test used the same bulk rate postage indicia. Once the Dow Jones logo was tested it stayed on all versions. The BREp was the same for the 7 original packages - and the same for the 2 tests. And white 100% of the time.

Once the letter was tested with a second color, blue, used primarily for indented headlines and a very few other accents, they stayed with it.

The guarantee has remained the same, too. Same words, same layout, same look. Within each of the original style packages it is a small stub on the left side of the response device. In each case it is two colors.

Another "same" is the total lack of personalization. .. except on the response device. That is the only place the receivers name appears. In contrast to many mailers today, the WSJ stays simple. Again.

The last two packages, 8 & 9 on my list, had a single difference; the teaser copy on the outgoing envelope. Everything else was exactly alike. The major difference from the original being the addition of an insert which "screamed" (literally, screamed in red, yellow, black, with a sunburst, no less!) the offer. These guys do know how to test.

Several times the layout of the response coupon was changed - slightly. Nothing drastic - more to reflect the different offer being tested.

The fact that I received #4 twice during this time period says to me it continues to be the winner. It is the upgraded version from the base - and it works. A touch of color and the Dow logo are added. And then it continues to pull. Over and over again and again. .. it gets results.

What does not work are completely different approaches. The first in the list, in the 6 X 9 envelope, looks more like an old Time-Life mailer. Even in its' day it does not look WSJ. The second is more of a sweepstakes Ed McMahon look - completely out of character for the Journal.

Yet, I do not look at these tests as bad. Different, yes. Bad, no. Why? Because you don't know until you give it a try. The Journal will try anything that appears to have even a tad of common sense to it. These were good things to try. They didn't work. So, onward.

Another thing the Journal does is test offers. They're all about the same - yet, they read different. My listing of them is the way they appear on the reply coupon. Meaning, if the 26 week offer is first on the coupon, it is first on my list. If the 52 week offer is first on the coupon, it is first on my list.

When they talk 50% off - it is the lead. The number weeks is always before the price. .. which is always there, always readable, always last.

The Wall Street Journal is a business publication. Your business is probably different. And still - each of us, me included! - can learn from them. Hope you found an idea or two you can use.

... a loose thought

Every few weeks friend Andy Owen, who runs an agency in the U.K., shares several bits of wisdom from somewhere around the world.

Frequently Andy sends his note on a Friday - and often the "wisdom" is something fun. Such is this loose thought. .. something I thought you just couldn't live without.

So, a few nuggets from the BBC television comedy series 'The Office';

  • "Statistics are like a lamp-post to a drunken man - more for leaning on than illumination"
  • "A problem shared is a problem halved, so is your problem really yours or just half of someone else's?"
  • "It's the team that matters. Where would The Beatles be without Ringo? If John got Yoko to play drums the history of music would be completely different".
  • "What does a squirrel do in the summer? It buries nuts. Why? 'Cos then in winter time he's got something to eat and he won't die. So, collecting nuts in the summer is worthwhile work. Every task you do at work, think, would a squirrel do that? Think squirrels. Think nuts".
  • "A successful team is paramount, our office team mirrors the success of Arsenal football team, but with less foreigners"
  • "Set out to leave the first vapor trail in the blue-sky scenario"
  • "Is your work done? Are all pigs fed, watered and ready to fly?"
  • "I thought I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it was just some b*stard with a torch, bringing me more work"
  • "Avoid employing unlucky people - throw half of the pile of CVs in the bin without reading them"
  • "Put the key of despair into the lock of apathy. Turn the knob of mediocrity slowly and open the gates of despondency - welcome to a day in the average office"
  • "When confronted by a difficult problem, you can solve it more easily by reducing it to the question, "How would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
  • "Show me a good loser and I'll show you a LOSER"
  • "If you can keep your head when all around you have lost theirs, then you probably haven't understood the seriousness of the situation"
  • "If you treat the people around you with love and respect, they will never guess that you're trying to get them sacked".
  • "If at first you don't succeed, remove all evidence you ever tried".
  • "You have to be 100% behind someone, before you can stab them in the back".
  • "If work was so good, the rich would have kept more of it for themselves".
  • "Those of you who think you know everything are annoying to those of us who do"..
  • "If your boss is getting you down, look at him through the prongs of a fork and imagine him in jail".
  • "There's no 'I' in 'team'. But then there's no 'I' in 'useless smug colleague', either. And there's four in 'platitude-quoting idiot'. Go figure"
  • "There may be no 'I' in team, but there's a 'ME' if you look hard enough"
  • "Process and procedure are the last hiding place of people without the wit and wisdom to do their job properly"
  • "Accept that some days you are the pigeon, and some days you are the statue"
  • "Know your limitations and be content with them. Too much ambition results in promotion to a job you can't do".
  • "Make good use of your cylindrical filing unit, the one you mainly keep under your desk"
  • "Remember that age and treachery will always triumph over youth and ability".
  • "Never do today that which will become someone else's responsibility tomorrow"
  • "Quitters never win, winners never quit. But those who never win and never quit are idiots".
  • "If you're gonna be late, then be late and not just 2 minutes - make it an hour and enjoy your breakfast".
  • "Remember the 3 golden rules: 1. It was like that when I got here. 2. I didn't do it. 3. (To your Boss) I like your style.
  • "The office is like an army, and I'm the field general. You're my foot soldiers and customer quality is the WAR."

A FREE Audio Tape for YOU!

Because Ray Speaks ... it is expected he'll have audio and video tapes.

Why? To share with speakers bureaus, meeting planners and others interested in what he may have to say. So "yes", there is an audio tape. And he'll be happy to send you a copy. FREE. No strings attached.

The tape is a selection from several speaking gigs. A few case histories, some "how to..." ideas. And such. About an hour's worth of chatter ... some of it actually very entertaining!

If you'd like you very own copy, send an E-mail to ...
with your complete mailing address.

Your tape will be on the way to you within the day.

Oh, when you have a need for a speaker, and feel a demo video tape could be valuable to you, just ask for a copy. Not much use for video these days - with the Web - still, we'll be happy to forward one to you.

From The Baker's Dozen Collection

13 Platinum Ideas About Order Forms & Reply Devices

The bottom line is do you get the response. Period!

That's all that really matters in marketing.

Did you get the lead. Traffic through the front door or to your trade show stand. The donation. The order.

Does someone raise their hand and say "count me in"? Do they fax back your form? Complete your application? Fill out your entry? Sign-up for your publication or seminar? Return or redeem your coupon? Agree to a demo of your product? Or a trial run of your newest service? Will they see your sales rep? Call your toll-free number asking for more? Return your response card offering more? Visit your web site or respond by E-mail?

For the full list of 13 "how to..." points, "click here".


February is the month most break their New Year's resolutions. At least two out of three who turn over a new leaf in January decide the old way was more fun, easier, better. .. and the new isn't worth the effort.

Anonymous has a different point of view;

"Perseverance is another name for success."

"Quotes with Direction" has been a part of my web site collection from day one. If you like quotes visit the archives ... www.rayjutkins.com/quotes/. There's a new batch up every 4 weeks.

"Stamp Out" Alzheimer's

The last years of my dad's life included Alzheimer's. So, when long time DMer, speaker & biz friend John Jay Daly asked me to include this news - I quickly said "yes".

The US Postal Service is being asked to create a 'semi-postal' stamp to raise funds for the Alzheimer's Association. To fight the disease that affects 4 million Americans. A petition of 50,000 signatures is needed to make an impact.

Will you please help? Visit the donated web site & sign the cyberpetition ...

You can also E-mail John at speaker@JohnJayDaly.com or visit www.johnjaydaly.com for more ideas on how you might help.

Thank you.

Magic Marketing Minutes

Features & Benefits

Your reader is less interested in what your product is than in what it will do for them. People do not buy red buttons. .. they buy what happens when you push red buttons!

So, fill your mail package with information about benefits.

To do that you have to know the difference between a product feature and a product benefit. And keep them separate. Here is a simple definition. First for features:

  1. A feature helps to distinguish one product from another.
  2. A feature is a characteristic of the product or the service you are selling.

A feature is inherent in the product -- part of the product whether or not it is sold. Okay, what is a benefit?

  1. A benefit ties the product feature to the customer needs. If there is no need, there will be no sale.
  2. A benefit is the good the buyer gains from your product or service. It is what the buyer gains ... not what the seller gains.
  3. A benefit cannot exist without a buyer. There must be a buyer if there is going to be a benefit.

Know the difference between a product feature and product benefit. And in your Direct Mail talk benefits.

The Works of Marketing with Ray INDEX

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