February 25, 2003 Volume 2 Issue 35
YOU have qualified for a new credit card!
How many times have you seen, heard, received a credit card offer?
How many times in the last 30 days?
Like you, I've gotten my share. And then some. TeleMarketing calls. Direct Mail. And E-mail marketing "opportunities", too. Really, too many to count.
Still, direct marketing techniques are used to gain new card holders, to activate the membership, to up-grade and cross-sell them, to retain members. So, although you may be tired of what you find in your post office mail box and E-mail inbox, there are lessons to learn. That can be applied in your business.
A bit of history from 2002. Comperemedia, a direct mail and print tracking company, came up with these stats;
... 4.1 billion credit card pieces of mail dropped, vs. 3.7 in 2001
... the biggest mail month was June with 379 million - second October with 375 million
... lower interest rates was the big offer - 8.99% APR by 37% of the mailers
... balance transfers were another featured offer - by 60% of the mailers
... most had no annual fee
... late fees went rose to the $30 arena, from $11-20 in 2001
Those are the official statistics. Now, from my very unscientific study.
I collected most of the card offers received by direct mail over the period of one month. There weren't many - I was surprised. The big guys on television did chase me. .. Capital One. First with a 5½ X 8½ double window envelope, showing their 0% APR offer.
They also came with a #11 envelope package - my favorite size. Why? Standard #11 is both taller north/south and longer east/west than #10, and thus automatically gets noticed in a stack of mail. Without the cost of the square and jumbo sizes. Both were personalized correctly.
Five of the direct mail pieces were from issuers of cards in my wallet today. Each had an upgrade on the credit line, and a lower interest rate for a limited time. Each had an urge to action.
Nancy, my bride, is on the mailing list of an Arizona based major grocery store. They mailed her a special offer; sign up for the Fry's Visa card and earn free groceries.
Nancy also received a special offer from Wells Fargo Bank, one of our business financial friends. They pushed her to take an additional card for the business. And made a couple of expensive gift product offers as an incentive.
Sony ran a full page advertisement in USA Today with an offer of no payment and no interest until 2004 when you pay with your Sony Preferred credit card. The idea was to move high-end Hi-Scan Projection Televisions. It was a dealer traffic building campaign, too.
No effort was made to count or note telephone solicitations. I did keep track of E-mail offers. For a short time. .. about two weeks. What can be said - without question - is E-mail is becoming "the" way to reach out for new card holders.
Harrah's, the casino hotel/resort chain, offered a $25. Cash back when you applied for a Total Rewards (their loyalty card program) Visa credit card. You could apply online.
The lead-in from an anonymous source is interesting;
"Find out how many Major Bank Credit Cards you qualify for instantly!"
It's a 1. Provide your information,
2. Click Search,
3. Pick the credit cards you want offer.
Their sales line closes with this;
". .. don't worry about your credit report - we can find credit cards for just about anyone."
I bet they can. No information how much this service is going to cost. Or how much it will cost you in interest.
The Centennial Card made numerous E-mail pitches for MasterCard and Visa. Many with a simple all text E-mail - and a hot link to their web site. Several of these came from a marketing partner of the Bank, TheGoodyBox. They state this very clearly.
Deals-Central.net sent a number of offers, with more asterisks to qualify than a travel club with the middle east as their prime destination. IdealFinds asks 8 quick and easy to answer questions. .. if you can say "yes" to all you're qualified.
firstname.lastname@example.org (really, that's what it says!) sends you directly to their web site. There you answer 5 questions, and self-qualify yourself in or out.
Part of what I saw time and again was credit limits of $5000 being offered. Yet, when I dug down to the fine print - several issued a card with a $500 limit. .. plus all sorts of first time and/or on-going fees. I saw many of these as legal, yet come-ons. And not very ethical.
USA Gold offered an Unsecured Gold Credit Card through iExpect.com. There are two things here; Unsecured. Gold. Many offers talked "unsecured". "Get an Unsecured Visa Guaranteed!" was a line repeated many times. This approach appealing to those with poor to no credit, maybe good credit and a low income, maybe new to the marketplace without credit, and those coming out of bankruptcy. Money4People.com went this route.
Gold. .. because it is "sexy", I guess it works. Even with low credit lines, your card looks nice. A wide number of solicitations made the Gold Card offer.
And there were also a number of USA Platinum Card offers. At one time that word was limited to American Express - with a hefty fee required.
American Express had a pop-up ad in online version of The New York Times. Because I was writing this article, I stopped. And opened it, downloaded it (12 pages, when I stopped, before I got through it all!). Then read a lot of it. The offer was up to 5% cash back, no annual fee (big time offer for AmEx) and 0% intro APR. They were very thorough with the benefit explanations. Lots in the FAQ section. And, a huge section of all the special cards they make available. .. for students, special designs for New York Knick and Ranger fans, and on and on. These guys get kicked around a lot. They did a good job here.
Discover Platinum Card also did a nice job. They have an easy to complete online application. .. I know, I tried it. They offer an American Flag logo design if you want it. My print out of their pages went 6 pages.
Plaines Commerce Bank of Hoven South Dakota, with very nice multi-color HTML E-mails, must think I'm an excellent prospect. They chased me a number of times.
Ditto First Premier Bank. Premier had an excellent online application. Each E-mail with a different graphic. A young lady one time. A business man another. Some had group pictures of couples, a young crowd, a single lady. Money4people.com also made offers for this bank.
What I saw online, from the majority of what I received, was this;
... tremendous graphics - different presentations each time from the same supplier
... glorious use of color
... a continuing flow of E-mail, if not daily, several times a week
... very complete testing of various subject lines - each leading to the same web site
... a very understandable spelled out 1-2-3 type offer
... outrageous promises, guaranteeing a card will be issued, followed by clearly spelled fine print - what they gave they took away - most of the time.
Earlier I said there might be a lesson in these messages. Now I'm not so sure. Except, maybe, repetition builds your reputation. As repetition certainly did happen.
Oh, of course, there were several creative wonders. Some so bad they were wonders. And some so good they won the wonder award. Yet, my favorite had this as the subject line;
"The search is over!"
I didn't know there was one.
Long time business friend Ray Daley sent this to me. At least I think it was Ray.
And I'm not absolutely certain, yet, I don't think I've shared it with you before. If I have, I apologize for the repeat message. Since I read it every time like it's the first time I've seen it - maybe you'll forgive.
And. . . enjoy!
Recently, I was diagnosed with AAADD--Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder. This is how it manifests itself:
I decided to wash my car. As I start toward the garage, I notice there is mail on the hall table. I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car. I lay my car keys down on the table, put the junk mail in the trash can under the table, and notice that the trash can is full. So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the trash first.
But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I take out the trash anyway, I may as well pay the bills first. I take my checkbook out of my briefcase that is on the table, and see that there is only one check left. My extra checks are in my desk in the den, so I go to my desk where I find the bottle of soda that I had been drinking. I'm going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the soda aside so I don't accidentally knock it over. I see the soda is getting warm, and I decide I should put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold. As I head toward the kitchen with the soda, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye--they need to be watered. I set the soda down on the counter, and I discover my reading glasses that I've been searching for all morning. I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers. I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly I spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table. I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, we will be looking for the remote, but nobody will remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers. I splash some water on the flowers, but most of it spills on the floor. So, I set the remote back down on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill. Then I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.At the end of the day: the car isn't washed, the bills aren't paid, there is a warm bottle of soda sitting on the counter, the flowers aren't watered, there is still only one check in my checkbook, I can't find the remote, I can't find my glasses, and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.Then when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all day long, and I'm really tired. I realize this is a serious problem, and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail.Do me a favor, will you? Forward this message to everyone you know, because I don't remember to whom it has been sent.
"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
Many cultures "save" their sayings. And pass them along from generation to generation.
The Chinese do this. .. here is an Anonymous Chinese Proverb
"He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes;
"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.
"It IS What's Next!"
Already I've shared this story with health care organizations, a database marketing business, a direct marketing firm, a DM association - and several others. And I'm ready to bring it to your group. (Visit It IS What's Next!)
When you have a need for a 40-90 minute program, I'll give you this different, interesting, meaningful, warm and true action presentation. To your club. Your company. Your organization. Your association. Any group you have. At any place. At any time. For any reason.
ItISWhat's Next!is available to you as a Keynote Address. As a special program. As an opening or closing presentation. As a different / unique session.
Magic Marketing Minutes
How Long Is Long?
There is no such thing as copy that is too long! Or too short!
Copy is either interesting or uninteresting.
The writer of Genesis told the story of the creation of the World in just 442 words. The government produced a report about cabbage that totaled over 29,000 words. Some very powerful statements are very brief. And some perfectly awful writing is far, far too long.
Copy is not short and it's not long. It's either interesting or uninteresting.
Think of it yourself. What is your hobby? What do you do for fun? What do you or your family do when you go on holiday? What do you look forward to on the weekends?
Now tell me that I couldn't send you a book's worth of information on your favorite subject! Of course I could. And short or long has nothing to do with it.
On the other hand pick a subject you absolutely despise. Something you don't look forward to doing. Either at home or the office. And any amount of communication to you on that particular subject is not interesting to you. You don't look forward to it. And, you certainly aren't going to read much information about it.
Guess what? The marketplace out there is just like you and me. They look forward to getting information and knowledge about subjects they're interested in. They don't look forward to receiving anything about subjects they're not interested in.
What does all this say to you? It says, you better make certain your Admail goes to the right audience. It has a good chance of working if you send it to the right people. It has no chance of working if your message goes to the wrong audience.
And remember: It's not short. It's not long. It's interesting, or it's uninteresting.
by ROCKINGHAM*JUTKINS*marketing, all rights reserved.