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National Mail Order Association (NMOA)
Direct Marketing
and Mail Order

Alan Rosenspan's
Improve Your Response Newsletter

Issue # 37: August 2005

1. Cheap, Cheap, Cheap…
2. Mini Marketing
3. Do Not Call — Ever!
4. Remember the ROI
5. The Power of Testimonials
6. The Age of Consent
7. Direct Mail Offer

Dear Friends,

I just returned from a business trip to Provo, Utah to visit my clients and Novell.

The temperature hit 104 degrees, and what’s worse is I dressed in my customary black shirt, black pants and black shoes.

Have you seen March of the Penguins? Now imagine them trekking through the Sahara, and you’ll have some idea of how I looked and felt.

So this is one newsletter you could say I really sweated over.

I hope it makes sense, and gives you some ideas that you can use.

Have a great summer, Alan

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Cheap, Cheap, Cheap…

In the face of competitive pressure, Vodafone of New Zealand needed to lower their rates. Nothing out of the ordinary. But the way they chose to announce this to their customers was just extraordinary.

Vodafone sent an ugly letter on low grade, computer paper, printed with an old dot matrix printer with perforated holes going down the sides. And the letter read as follows:



Dear cus <customer name>

As you hold this letter printout in your hands, you’re probably wondering if standards have slipped in the Vodafone Business Marketing Department.

Well, it’s not standards that have fallen.
It’s the cost of your business plan.

The bast bean counters upstairs have slashed your rates so much, there’s no money left for us in Business Marketing. The coffee machine has gone, replaced by tea in plastic cups. The beer fridge drinks cabinet is locked. They’ve turned off the heating in our offices. (Yes, it ’s fuc a bit chilly.)

And they’ve even replaced our laser printers with old dot matrix jobs, so we’re up to our armpits in giant rolls of perforated paper.

This scrimping is rather good news for you, though. Because on Thursday 5 August, your rates will fall through the floor.


This mailing caused quite a stir and gained a lot of extra publicity for Vodafone. It was so effective, they entered into the DMA Echo Awards.

Making fun of yourself? Having a big idea? Doing something out of the ordinary? Why not try it for your next mailing.

And if you’d like to see a PDF of the Vodafone letter, simply e-mail me at

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Mini Marketing

The car company Mini Cooper in the Netherlands came up with a terrific low cost campaign that I’d like to share with you.

They sent out a direct mail package to their customers — who adore their cars. The package included a "For Sale" sign they could put in the window of their Mini’s.

The sign looked hand-written and read as follows:


This Mini is absolutely not
But feel free to call my dealer at

Clever little campaign, isn’t it?

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Do Not Call – Ever!

This is not a joke.

The Direct Marketing Association has just created what it calls the Deceased Do-Not-Contact list (DDNC.)

Apparently, the DMA has been getting at least one call a day from people, complaining that their deceased family members were still getting phone calls and direct mail.

No wonder response rates have been going down.

All kidding aside, I applaud the DMA for taking action on this sensitive issue. As a DMA spokesperson put it, "The last thing consumers need during a time of grief is to see marketing messages addressed to deceased loved ones."

Friends, relatives, and caregivers of deceased individuals are encouraged to register the information on The DMA’s Consumer Assistance Site at: Funeral directors, hospitals, doctors’ offices, and others are also encouraged to provide this Internet link to the bereaved.

The new list will be available to both DMA and non-DMA members and will be updated monthly.

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Remember the ROI

These days, most companies are experiencing a lower response rate. And that may lead them to cut back or even abandon direct marketing.

Big mistake — because the best way to measure the success of your campaign isn’t response — it’s Return on Investment (ROI.)

In other words, how much money did you make compared with how much money did you spend?

The famous example is an American university that wanted to raise $10 million to build a new library. (This was awhile ago…)

What universities usually do in that situation is to mail to their alumni list, requesting donations of $50, $100 or "as much as you can afford."

This University did something different.

They did mail to their alumni list. But the letter read along the lines of, "We’re not asking for a donation. We’re looking for just one individual who has been so successful, and so grateful for their education, that they can donate the entire $10 million we need."

They received a terrible response.

Out of over 20,000 alumni on their list — only 4 responded. That’s a .005 response rate.

I’m not sure what they did with the extra $30 million — but their ROI was fantastic.

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The Power of Testimonials

I just did a day of consulting with The Conference Works and their excellent advertising agency.

They do a number of spiritual, consciousness-expanding seminars, with leading thinkers such as Joan Borysenko, Donna Eden and Greg Braden. (For more info, visit

As part of our consulting, I stressed the power of testimonials. They increase credibility, and enable you to say great things about your company without looking like you’re boasting or exaggerating.

And their testimonial about my company particularly touched my heart.

"Wow!!! By the end of our day today my head felt close to bursting — and I have not felt that way in several years! I am so charged and excited by all the creative positive ideas you gave us today that I can hardly wait until Monday to start to plan the most immediate implementation.

Thank you so much for you gentle, gracious teaching and direction today. I look forward to ongoing work with you."

- M.A. Bjarkman
The ConferenceWorks!

By the way, noted Speaker and Trainer Burt Dubin has a number of excellent suggestions on how to obtain testimonials.

You can sign on for his free newsletter by e-mailing him at Make sure you request the latest copy (8/3) which focuses on testimonials.

You can also subscribe at

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The Age of Consent

Let’s face it. She’s ignored your calls, she won’t respond to your letters and she’s thinking of taking a restraining order out on you.

She’s the consumer — and she just doesn’t want to hear from you any more.

She’s not ignoring you — far from it. She actively dislikes you. According to a recent Yankelovitch study, there is more consumer resentment of marketing than ever before.

And if someone can figure out a way to eliminate marketing altogether, 51% of people would immediately take them up on it.

We are entering a new age of marketing — far beyond simple Permission Marketing — and it has important implications for direct marketers.

How did it all happen?

The new age might have begun with cable TV and the premier channels like HBO and Showtime.

What made them premier? Well, the programming was a little more sophisticated at first. But what really made them premier was no commercials.

The major networks now schedule a whopping 52 minutes of commercials for the 3-hour prime time block. That means we’re seeing more and more commercials than ever before. And the same commercials more and more times.

And that’s one reason why most TV shows get one-tenth of the ratings they did thirty years ago.

The trend continued with services like TIVO, where we can eliminate TV commercials completely. Satellite Radio allowed us to do the same thing with radio.

The Internet also helped it along, as we received wave after wave of SPAM on our computer. We hated it — and even passed laws against it.

Then the telemarketers kept interrupting our dinners, our TV time, and even our most intimate occasions. We turned to Caller I.D. and Call-blocking and answering machines — but to no avail.

Until one day, "Do Not Call" gave us back our evenings and weekends. Over 53 million people signed up and never looked back.

Where will it all end? The answer is — it’s just beginning.

What can you do about it?

We have now entered "The Age of Consent." Increasingly, people have to consent to receive your advertising.

Why on earth would they do that?

You need to answer the question, "What’s in it for them?" Just because you want to advertise is no reason for the consumer to consent to view it.

You’re going to have to add value to your advertising. You’re going to have to provide valuable information, or a service, or something, anything that will encourage people to consent to be exposed to it.

I mentioned this in my last newsletter, when I wrote about BMW Films and how they developed mini-movies for their website.

The challenge is to think of your marketing like a product. People "buy" it by opting in, opening your direct mail, or watching your commercials.

And in the future, which has already started, your marketing is going to have to be "new and improved."

We’ll come back to this important topic in future newsletters. And I would love to know your thoughts. Please e-mail me at

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Direct Mail Offer

One of the most valuable parts of my seminars is reviewing the direct mail packages of people who attend, and give them specific ways to improve it.

And that’s what I’d like to offer you.

While I don’t know your business or your market as well as you do — sometimes having an outside perspective can be very revealing.

And often, there are one or two simple things that can be done that can have a dramatic affect on response.

If you’d like to have me look over your direct mail package — absolutely free and with no obligation — simply send it to me with a note at the address below.

Opt in, Opt out, Options

1. Please feel free to forward this newsletter on to a friend or business associate. I’d appreciate it.

2. You can access all our back-issues on our website at

3. To unsubscribe, just send me an e-mail that says, "Remove."

Please let me remind you that your name and/or e-mail address will never be shared, sold, circulated, or passed along to anyone else.

Thank you, Alan

Alan Rosenspan & Associates
281 Needham Street
Newton, MA 02464
Tel: 617-559-0999
Fax: 617-559-0996

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