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

Alan Rosenspan's
Improve Your Response Newsletter

Issue # 55: May 2008 Edition

1. Case histories from Oz

2. Focus on Fund Raising

3. Scooter Store Success

4. Reaching the C-level

5. Story Bridge Contest

6. Customer Value

7. Pick a Card

8. Creativity can Kill

9. Inspiration from New Zealand


Dear Friends,

I know it's been a couple of months since I've published a newsletter, but I've been on the road again...

Whoever thinks business travel is glamorous hasn't done much of it.

But as usual, I've brought back a number of ideas and case-histories I want to share with you. And of course, I wanted to wish you a good Spring!

P.S. Let me give a special welcome to the hundreds of new subscribers who recently signed up – and remind you that you can read back issues at


Case Histories From Oz

Australia Post just re-printed my 101 Ways to Improve Response and added a number of local case histories that I would like to share with you.

ANZ bank mailed an actual ring to congratulate their customers on the anniversary of their home loan. The message was, "the honeymoon is never over with ANZ."

The bank achieved a perfect 100% retention rate during the three-month campaign.

Given that a home loan customer can be worth thousands of dollars in fees to ANZ bank, I'd say that was a good investment.

Weight Watchers did a campaign to win back former members. This makes so much sense, since many people lose weight and then gain it back again.

They used a seasonal message during the winter (which is usually their worst time.) Most people want to lose weight in the spring for the summer.

Weight Watchers included personalized "welcome back" and "bring a friend" coupons and increased overall enrollment by 83%

This idea of tying in your marketing with a seasonal message has always been powerful.

In fact, you might want to try this experiment. Put all your direct mail up on a wall and see if you can tell when it was mailed.

If you can't, you may be missing an opportunity to tie it in with holidays, seasonal messages, and other special times of year that would make your message much more relevant and improve your response.

For additional case-histories and to view samples, visit

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Focus on Fund Raising

I also had the chance to have lunch with Derek Glass, the former marketing director of Working Assets Long Distance.

He is now focusing on fund raising work in Australia and New Zealand.

Derek showed me a recent package for a non-profit called Seeing Eye Dogs of Australia.

The package performed five times better than their previous control.

The secret? Derek added a Survey to the Donation card, with each question reinforcing the need to donate. He also included relationship-building questions such as "Do you own a dog?" and "If yes, what is his or her name?"

Derek has a number of great articles on his website, which is

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Scooter Store Success

I used Derek's technique with one of my for-profit clients last year.

The Scooter Store is a Texas-based company that sells power chairs and scooters for people with mobility problems.

We did a mailing for them that offered a "Free Mobility Test."

Inside the package was an insert with 7 questions to determine whether or not you might benefit from a power chair or scooter.

I used this technique because some people are reluctant to admit they actually need assistance – and these questions made them realize that they did.

The questions described some of the problems you may encounter with limited mobility, such as "Are you usually exhausted at the end of the day?"

And the copy said, "If you answered, "yes" to more than three of these questions, please call us immediately."

The final question was designed to plant a positive action in their minds. It was "Would you like to have more energy to spend time with family and friends?"

The package lifted response as much as 94% over the control, and has been entered in the 2008 Echo Awards.

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Reaching The C-level

I recently received a query on my website, asking "Is direct mail really effective for reaching CEO's, CFO's, CIO's and CMO's?"

I answered: "Of course, you can do effective direct mail to the C-level. In fact, one might argue that's the only form of marketing that really gets through to them."

Just make sure you:

1. Make it look personal so it gets by the gatekeeper.

2. Write the letter from one CEO to another. Put the name of the CEO who is writing the letter in the upper left hand corner of the envelope.

3. Make it look important.

4. Use a dimensional mailer to get their attention. (Nobody ever threw out a box without opening it; no gatekeeper ever decided that "the boss doesn't have to see this.")

5. Use PURL's (Personalized URL's) to gain their attention.

6. Show you've done some research on their organization.

Whenever I get a new client, the first thing I do is visit their website – you'd be amazed just how much useful information is there; some of which I can include in our direct mail programs.

7. Don't do a one-shot; make it a consistent campaign.

If reaching the CEO is very important to you (and worth it to your company) don't just do one mailing. Do a series of mailings designed to work over time.

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Story Bridge Contest

The world has only three major bridges you can climb to the top, and two of them are in Australia.
It's a fascinating experience. You're packed into a space suit, hooked onto a cable, and you get to climb a thousand or more steps up and across a major bridge.
As you can imagine, the view is spectacular – and there is a three-month waiting list to climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge.
The other bridge is in Brisbane, and it's called The Story Bridge. The CEO of the company, Paul Lewin, invited me to make the climb, and I did on a Sunday morning. I e-mailed my thanks, and he replied:


Hi Alan,
Thanks for your kind note and really pleased you enjoyed the experience.
Now, whilst it's fresh in your mind – what's the headline above the image of a family at the top of the bridge!
Only joking (unless one jumps into your head) - don't expect a free headline... just really pleased you had a good time.
Thanks again for the seminar - I really enjoyed it and would love to get a copy of your presentation.


The only thing I could think of was "get High in Brisbane" but I must have been jet-lagged.

So here's the contest for you: Come up with a headline for the Story Bridge, and the winner will receive a Free Copy of a John Caples classic book "Tested Advertising Methods."

And who knows, maybe Paul will throw in a free bridge climb if you're ever in Australia.

For more information, inspiration, and a view of the bridge - simply google "Story Bridge Climb."

All entries must be submitted by May 15th.

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Customer Value

In an interview for Priority magazine in Australia, I was asked to identify the most important principles that I share in my seminars.
There is one that I think applies to every part of a direct marketing program – from offer to fulfillment.
Let the value of the customer determine every marketing decision.
Let me give you an example: I did a project for a major technology company. The client had asked for only flat mail, no dimensional pieces. I showed them a number of choices, and included one box mailing.
The client said, "But we told you we couldn't afford to send a box."
I asked, "How much is a new customer worth to you?" The client answered, "It depends – it could be anywhere from $100,000 and up."
"So let me understand," I continued, "If a box generated one more customer, then it would pay for the entire mailing, right?"
The client went with the box mailing – which was extremely successful.

Customer value should influence more than just the format of your mailing.
It should dictate what you offer – whether it's a Bic pen or a Blackberry.
It should affect how often you mail.
It should impact every decision you make in your marketing program.
People often talk about ROI (Return on Investment) which is another way of looking at it – but that sounds complicated and difficult to measure.
However, if you always take into account how much a customer is worth – you won't go wrong in direct marketing.

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Pick A Card

Many companies have outsourced their IT work or Customer Service to India, however it might be worth outsourcing your creative too.
Vyas Gianetti Creative just did an amazing direct marketing program for an Indian recruitment company, The Profiler.
The Profiler focuses on getting people jobs in the advertising sector.
Advertising professionals were sent a box containing 15 business cards from India's top advertising agencies.
Each card was personalized with the name of the person they mailed it to – so they could imagine themselves working for each of those top companies!
The message was, "Just pick your favorite card, and let us help you find a job at that agency."
The mailing achieved almost a 100% response rate.

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Creativity Can Kill

I just spent a day with a leading company that helps students prepare for their college and graduate school tests.

They used a self-mailer with a photograph of a No. 2 pencil on it. The headline read, "Does the SAT or ACT Scare the No. 2 Out of You?"

It's admittedly a funny and creative headline, and they are marketing to college kids, but here's the problem:

Many people feel these are the most important tests of their lives!

Remember when you were applying to college? You may have been trying to get into a specific school. You were competing with hundreds, if not thousands, of other students.

Your SAT or ACT scores were vitally important to you.

It's so easy to be seduced by funny headlines and clever approaches. But you have to ask yourself – how do my prospects and customers feel about it? What message would resonate most with them?

And don't let creativity kill your marketing.


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Inspiration From New Zealand

While in New Zealand, I had the pleasure of consulting with one of New Zealand's fastest-growing agencies.

The issue they wanted to address was how they could keep up the quality of their creative work, while growing so quickly.

I gave them several ideas, including giving the most mundane assignments to the best creative people.

This would demonstrate that (A) there's no such thing as dull projects, only dull creative, and (B) hopefully, the best creative people could do a great job with it.

They showed me a form that they give to the copywriter and art director when their work wasn't up to par. I thought the form was terrific and I wanted to share it with you.

This work is mediocre – here's why

- I had no time
- The brief was as inspiring as watching a cat cough up a fur ball
- The account team made me do it
- The last time this client bought great work, platform shoes and Afros were still groovy
- I'm having a personal crisis
- My partner's losing it
- 17 "single-minded" propositions in one ad is tough
- Greatness is difficult to sustain when the brief changes every Tuesday
- It's me! I screwed up!

The reasons for not doing great work never go away. Perseverance is the only antidote.

I absolutely agree with them. And it calls to mind this famous quote, which I keep above my computer at work:

"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.

"Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.

"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."

- Calvin Coolidge,
30th President of the United States

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