Using Alternative Media to Generate More Customers
Last week I received a very nice thank you gift from a friend of mine, Eric Ruth, who is arguably the number one marketing coach to the personal fitness trainer industry.
Eric, asked if he could interview me about a specific topic and I agreed.
After it was done, Eric sent me a bunch of filet mignon steaks from Omaha Steaks (Thanks Eric).
But the steaks are not what this article is about.
It's what was inside the Omaha Steaks box that I want to talk to you about.
You see, two things came with the steaks. One was a Omaha Steaks cookbook.
The cookbook not only contained recipes but also a bunch of bounceback special offers.
Each of these offers were specifically designed to get you to call Omaha Steaks up and order more steaks.
And Here Was the Second Thing that Was In the Omaha Steaks Box...
The second thing was a blue envelope that said, "Don't Miss Out - Special Offers from Americas Favorite Companies."
Here's what they looked like:
The contents of the blue envelope included what is known in the marketing industry as, "package insert."
Package Inserts 101 _____________________
Package inserts are basically advertisements that get inserted into packages that are being sent out from various vendors.
For instance, in this case, Omaha Steaks sends thousands of boxes to its customers. It sells space in its boxes to other companies who want to advertise to Omaha Steaks customers. This is called a "Package Insert Program" or PIP for short.
There are thousands of PIP program offered by many companies. Here are just a sampling of the type of companies that provide PIP programs:
Global Industrial Equipment
Mantis Gardening Tools
Zoysia Grass Plugs
If the profile of your target customer matches the profile of the customers that these companies sell to then you might consider a PIP advertising program with them.
The going rate for package inserts averages around $60 per thousand packages. What this means is that you pay $60 and your insert will be sent out with 1,000 packages.
This relatively cheap when you consider that renting a list for a solo mailing might cost anywhere from $100 to $250 per thousand names.
On the other hand, the response rates for inserts are much lower than direct mail. An acceptable response rate used for PIP programs are typically measured in tenths of a percent vs. the 2-5 percent return of solo direct mailings.
The number of inserts in a package can vary from four to eight. Generally, only non-competitive pieces are included together in one package.
Here's a photo of the inserts that came in the Omaha Steaks package I received.
As you can see, there are only three inserts from these companies:
1. Hawthorne Village (model trains)
2. Discover (credit cards)
3. Select Comfort (beds)
Here's Why You Should Consider Using a PIP Advertising Program in Your Marketing Mix
1. You get the power of direct mail at about 20% of what you'd normally pay for a direct mail campaign.
2. You can target specific niche markets and consumer segments.
3. You can target people by the way that they buy (i.e. mail order buyers, phone order buyers, television order buyer etc.).
4. You get category exclusivity in the mailing (i.e. no competing offers to worry about).
5. Your offer gets an implied endorsement from the company mailing the package.
I'm not saying that you should base your entire marketing program on insert media. What I'm saying is that using inserts can be a good compliment to how you're already advertising your product or service.
With the shrinking list market, package inserts are a good alternative way to prospect for qualified leads. It's hard for companies, I think, to rule it out.
Here's a Few Tips to Get the Most Out of PIP Programs ______________________________________________________
Tip # 1
Be very careful of how you pick a PIP program. It's much like picking a mailing list. You have to pick a PIP program that is reaching people who are good prospects for your product or service.
Make sure you set aside some time to sit with your broker to identify the characteristics of the programs that work. Then find plans that share these characteristics, and put a plan in place to test them.
Tip # 2
Alternatively, with your broker, identify potential programs NOT on the market that may accept your insert.
Tip # 3
Use large, bold type and a strong, simple offer on your insert. All the rules that apply in creating a compelling space ad also apply in creating a compelling insert.
Ask yourself, "What is it, exactly, that I want my prospect to do when they get my insert?" Then put that in your headline.
Tip # 4
Make sure that you are utilizing the maximum allowable size of insert.
Tip # 5
Make sure that it is easy to respond (this should go without saying). And use free offers to generate leads.
Tip # 6
Make it clear why your insert is riding along inside the package. You need to link your copy into the relationship that already exists between the company offering the PIP and your product or service.
For instance, a Home Depot insert that went to new homeowners said, "You've just moved in..."
Tip # 7
Always have new offers and new creative ready to go. After awhile, if the PIP program is a regularly shipped item, people get tired of seeing the same old ad. So you need to mix it up once in awhile.
Tip # 8
If you've been successful with one PIP program then test a few more. ______________________________________________________
Here Is a Comprehensive List of PIP Program Managers ______________________________________________________
Leon Henry practically invented the package insert business. They still have the largest and perhaps the most experienced PIP brokers in the industry.
Leon Henry, Inc.
Here are several other PIP management companies.
1. AM/Direct (Peterborough, NH); (603) 924-9262
2. American Marketing Network (New York, NY); (212) 243-8065
3. AMG Global (Redbank, NJ); (732) 741-0585
4. Atrium Marketing Group (Chicago, IL); (312) 733-3383, ext. 36
5. Bernice Bush Co. (Irvine, CA); (949) 752-4210
6. BrightStar Marketing (Lake Bluft, IL); (880) 700-7483
7. D-J Associates (Ridgefield, CT); (203) 431-8777
8. DK Group (Hillsdale, NJ); (201) 358-6100
9. Edith Roman Associates (Pearl River, NY); (845) 620-9000
10. Effective Mailers (Roseville, MI); (248) 588-9880
11. Everyday Media (New York, NY); (212) 481-7300
12. Gage Marketing Services (Minneapolis, MN); (612) 595-3862
13. GTE Directories Direct Delivery (Tampa, FL); (813) 664-5400
14. IDG Communications List Services (Framingham, MA); 1-888-IDG-LIST
15. List Services Corporation (Bethel, CT); (203) 743-2600
16. Media Solutuion Services (Atlanta, GA); (770) 955-3535
17. MKTG Services (Newtown, PA); (215) 968-5020
18. Our Tribe Marketing (New York, NY); (212) 462-0036
19. Pihera Advertising Associates (Lebanon, OH); (513) 932-5649
20. ProForma PrintNet (Marina, CA); (323) 692-9200
21. Right Lane Media (Saint Paul, MN); (877) 412-3200
22. Select Publishing (Madison, WI); (608) 277-5787
23. The American Mailshop (Sioux Falls, SD); (605) 338-4004
24. The Media Organization (Woodbury, NY); (516) 496-2577
25. Tobin Productions (New York, NY); (212) 727-1500
26. VentureDirect Worldwide (New York, NY); (212) 684-4800
27. Vis/Aid Marketing (Inglewood, CA); (310) 399-0696
28. Walter Karl, Inc. (Pearl River, NY); (914) 620-0700
29. Web-Magnets.com (Hot Springs, AR); (501) 627-0817
30. Worldshop (Grand Rapids, MI); (616) 957-0555
Getting Eric's gift from Omaha Steaks reminded me just how powerful a Package Insert Program can be. And package insert programs are just one type of alternative media.
There are many types of alternative media to choose from to reach your target market:
Card Deck Mailing
Supermarket take-one racks
It's wise to work with an experienced broker who understands the industry and can help guide you through to successful campaigns.
The broker doesn't cost you anything. The company offering the insert media pays the broker so you'd be silly not to work with an experienced broker.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to eating one of my Omaha steaks!
Copyright 2005 David Frey
David Frey is the author of the best-selling manual, "The Small Business Marketing Bible" and the Senior Editor of the "Small Business Marketing Best Practices Newsletter." To get your free lifetime subscription visit http://www.MarketingBestPractices.com
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