Comcast Business to Business Holiday DM.

Posted by truecreek on December 4, 2009 under The Work | Be the First to Comment

“Keep on Truckin'” was a one-page comic by Robert Crumb, published in the first issue of Zap Comix in 1968. We thought we’d have a little fun with it.

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Will Direct Marketing Deliver for UPS?

Posted by truecreek on September 24, 2009 under More Dam News | Be the First to Comment

Combine the brand strength of UPS with their trusted driver network and you just might have the best way to date to deliver your message to a promising audience.

By Stuart Elliott

Since 1907, United Parcel Service has been delivering packages ordered by consumers. Next week, the company plans to deliver packages they have not ordered, in a test of an effort to expand into direct marketing.

Beginning on Monday, U.P.S. will experiment in five major markets with a service it calls Direct to Door, giving advertisers and retailers a chance to provide offers and product samples to U.P.S. customers. The marketing materials will come inside small boxes labeled Direct to Door Paks, and will be delivered to customers along with merchandise they actually ordered.

The test, to run through Oct. 2, is intended to gauge whether there is interest in having U.P.S. serve as an alternative to marketing mail delivered by the United States Postal Service or by companies like Valpak.

If Direct to Door goes forward, the added revenue could help United Parcel offset declines in demand for its mainstay package delivery service since the recession started.

In July, U.P.S. reported its sixth consecutive quarter of lower package volume in this country. The decline in the second quarter was 4.6 percent compared with the period a year earlier, which Bloomberg News described as the worst result since United Parcel went public in 1999.

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“I wouldn’t say it was developed as a result of the economy,” said Lisa Lynn, marketing director for new-product research and development at United Parcel in Atlanta.

Rather, she said, it stems from “some opportunity we saw at the heart of what we do every day working off our delivery network.”

The test is also meant to see if U.P.S. customers welcome unsolicited packages or dismiss them as some new type of junk mail.

One effect of the economy is that “people are very receptive to offers right now,” Ms. Lynn said.

An experiment in figuring out how to better aim traditional, tangible marketing materials at consumers may seem quaint when so much of the buzz along Madison Avenue is about aiming virtual pitches at them online.

But direct marketing remains a lucrative business. According to the Direct Marketing Association, it accounted for $176.9 billion in ad spending last year in the United States — 52.1 percent of the total, by the association’s tally.

“We did some focus-group research and it really indicated that people were receptive to receiving offers from U.P.S.,” Ms. Lynn said. “What we heard was, ‘If U.P.S. brings it to me, it’s not junk.’ ”

Still, the company is taking several steps to try to ensure that a Direct to Door Pak is received more like a gift than another application for another credit card.

For one thing, the offers inside each box are intended to be special rather than “mass offers distributed through other channels,” Ms. Lynn said.

For another, no Direct to Door Paks will be delivered unaccompanied by packages ordered by that household, she said.

And the boxes will not bear the addresses of the recipients, Ms. Lynn said. Rather, they will carry phrases like this one: “Inside are premium offers from some of America’s best-known brands.” They will also include a photograph of the familiar brown United Parcel truck next to the words “Delivered to you by U.P.S.”

About a dozen companies — advertisers and retailers that use United Parcel to deliver orders to customers — are taking part in the test, Ms. Lynn said. They include the Finish Line; Men’s Wearhouse; Sephora; two Williams-Sonoma home furnishings brands, Pottery Barn and West Elm; and Zappos.com, the online retailer of shoes and housewares recently acquired by Amazon.

“It’s an interesting way to reach out to our customers and partner with one of our closest business partners,” said Aaron Magness, director for business development and brand marketing at Zappos.com in Henderson, Nev.

“We are an online retailer,” he added, “but we want to maintain a high-touch relationship with customers, constantly trying to find different ways to interact with them in whatever means they’re comfortable with.”

Mr. Magness said he liked the idea that the boxes would not arrive “out of nowhere, from random people knocking on your door.”

The offer to be made by Zappos.com during the test will invite recipients to “become a member of our V.I.P. program,” he added, entitling them to “free next-business-day shipping on every order.”

United Parcel plans to deliver about 250,000 Direct to Door Paks in about 150 ZIP codes in Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Miami, Phoenix and Washington.

Those chosen to participate in the test are “high-opportunity consumers,” Ms. Lynn said, meaning that they often order merchandise delivered by United Parcel Service.

“Our drivers have relationships with these people because they deliver to them frequently,” she added. “There’s a lot of trust in the driver and the brand.”

Mr. Magness also cited the trust factor as a reason Zappos.com was interested in the test.

Ms. Lynn described the customers to receive Direct to Door Paks as ages 35 to 54 in households of two persons or larger and living in single-family, owner-occupied homes.

As for what the service will cost marketers, “I can’t go into specific pricing,” Ms. Lynn said, “but the pricing model is similar to other media.”

The goal is for the cost to reach each 1,000 consumers — a common media measurement known as cpm — to be “comparable or less than an equivalent piece of direct mail,” she added.

Even the USPS is Having a Sale!

Posted by truecreek on May 2, 2009 under More Dam News | Be the First to Comment

This is just huge.  Even the USPS is having a sale.  This is from their hot press release.

Today we filed a notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission for a Summer Sale. The Sale will provide a 30 percent reduction in postage for qualifying Standard Mail customers mailing letters and flats. The Summer Sale will run from July 1 through September 30, 2009  .   The Summer Sale offer is subject to review by the Commission for up to 45 days following May 1.

UPDATE:

The United States Postal Service has issued further specifics on its proposed “summer sale.”

The sale will run from July 1 through September 30 and will be open to mailers who mailed more than one million Standard letters and/or flats from October 1, 2007, through March 31, 2008.

The USPS said eligible mailers will receive a rebate of 30% on any mail volume in the summer sale period, which is over the past threshold.

The rebates will be adjusted if the mailer’s October 2009 volume is less than their October 2008 mail volume adjusted their mailing trend.

Mailers will pay full postage during the summer, and their rebates will be determined by the USPS after October 31. Rebates will be credited to the mailer’s permit account before December 31.

The USPS will be sending eligible mailers letters that will provide the threshold as determined by USPS data systems.

Once they receive their eligibility letter, mailers may enroll in the program on the Web on or before July 1.

The summer sale proposal must still be approved by the USPS board of governors and the Postal Regulatory Commission.

There’s a Lotta Love Coming From Comcast.

Posted by truecreek on April 28, 2009 under The Work | Read the First Comment

We’ve just completed a very smart campaign for Comcast.  A strong winback message, IMHO.  Honest.  Just the way it should be.  And you have to appreciate the humility of the subhead.  Here are two of four oversized postcards, which will be followed by a letterpak.

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Summer Postal Rate Rollback May Make Big Mailers Big Winners.

Posted by truecreek on April 20, 2009 under More Dam News | Be the First to Comment

By Richard H. Levey

If a proposed test rollback of mail rates this summer goes through, listen for the sound of corks popping in Plano, TX. That’s because J.C Penney Co., which makes its headquarters there, was the biggest mailer during summer 2008, and stands to reap the largest benefit.

On Friday, word began circulating through the direct mail industry that The U.S. Postal Service was mulling temporary postage discounts for high-volume mailers that schedule drops between June 15 and Sept. 15. While the details of the program are still being worked out, discounts are expected to be between 20% and 30%.

This assumes that the highest-volume mailers haven’t negotiated separate, individual discounts with the U.S.P.S., or that those that have won’t be allowed to participate in the program. There has been no comment, official or unofficial, on either speculation at deadline.

istock_000004747819smallBut assume that the largest mailers pay the going rate. Penney mailed at least 119 million letters and catalogs in at least 23 separate campaigns, as far as could be ascertained from several editions of the U.S.P.S’s Postal Bulletin.

A positive decision by the Postal Service could give an effort-free extra bit of income to the $572 million the company earned during its most recent fiscal year, which ended Jan. 31.

Information within the Postal Bulletins can be a little dicey: Among the June 15-Sept. 15 mailings scheduled for 2008, a few mailings, such as a 2.65 million-piece drop identified only as “Summer Sale and Clearance Postcard”, was not included in Direct Newsline’s calculations And since the Bulletin only lists individual campaigns in excess of 1 million pieces, it’s very likely high-volume mailers with smaller-yet-regular drops were overlooked as well.

While the Postal Service’s fourth quarter doesn’t exactly correspond to the period being scrutinized (the quarter starts and ends 15 days later), for comparison’s sake the Service carried just over 23.7 billion Standard Mail pieces during the quarter, which generated $4.94 billion in revenue.

Should the program be implemented, discount levels will be based on mailers’ meeting individually calculated levels based on the volume of mail they sent out between June 15 and Sept. 15, 2008. Because of the manpower needed to calculate each level and discount, the sales may apply to only the 4,000 largest Standard Mail users, according to a Direct Marketing Association (DMA) statement speculating on the discount program.

If it does go through as currently on the table, mailers that have reduced their volume during the first two quarters of the Postal Service’s fiscal 2009 year may have the levels needed to quality for discounts reduced as well, according to the DMA. The Postal Service’s fiscal year began on Oct. 1, 2008.

Great Headlines Deliver the Mail.

Posted by truecreek on April 7, 2009 under The Work | Be the First to Comment

A pretty nice example of how a set of great headlines make for a compelling and effective direct campaign.

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Lingo 4/c Direct Mail

Posted by truecreek on February 1, 2009 under The Work | Be the First to Comment

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