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.)
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.
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';
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 ...
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
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:
A feature is inherent in the product -- part of the product whether or not it is sold. Okay, what is a benefit?
Know the difference between a product feature and product benefit. And in your Direct Mail talk benefits.
by ROCKINGHAM*JUTKINS*marketing, all rights reserved.