The September 2008 issue of our ‘Sample of the Month’ case study newsletter features our client, Phoenix Home & Garden.
The story centers around their test of two monarch packages….one using a Preferred Resident strategy and the other a Statement of Benefits strategy leading with 6 free issues. And even if you’re not a regional publication, you can still adapt this strategy to fit your own needs.
Both monarch packages measure about 7.5 inches wide by about 4 inches high. And both contain the same 4-color buck slip and BRE….the main difference is in the form. The Preferred Resident form measures about 7 inches wide by about 7.25 inches high….the free issues form measures about 6.75 inches wide by about 11 inches high.
Here are pictures so you can visually see what we’re talking about:
Preferred Resident Monarch Package | Free Issues Monarch Package
For this case study, we used more of an interview approach. The answers that follow are from Phoenix Home & Garden’s Circulation Director…
Can you explain the Preferred Resident strategy in more detail?
The monarch-sized preferred resident voucher announced that the special offer was valid only for Southwest residents in an attempt to make the recipient feel that they were part of a select group receiving this deal. The outer envelope simply stated: Preferred Resident Voucher Enclosed. Text over the window read: POSTMASTER: Deliver to Addressee Only. To visually emphasize the special offer on the form, the words “12 issues” were crossed out and 18 appeared to be hand-written in.
Was there a specific strategy behind the other package?
The other package was a monarch-sized statement of benefits format that, as the name implies, focused on the benefits of becoming a subscriber. This package offered the same deal of 18 issues for $15.00. The outer envelope announced that there were time-sensitive materials enclosed and the opportunity to receive 6 free issues.
Which mailer performed better and why do you think that is?
The Preferred Resident voucher performed better and overall pay-up was higher. The statement of benefits format has worked well for Phoenix Home & Garden in the past; however, the addition of 6 free issues to the outer has done little to lift response. The more exclusive nature of the Preferred Resident format seems to have more selling power.
Did you learn anything from this mailing or did anything surprise you?
Previous tests had been performed promoting ‘6 free issues’ on the carrier with bolder graphic design. In this test, the offer was scaled down and announced with simple text, yet the results were still weak. Ironically, the control package for Phoenix Home & Garden’s sister publication, PHOENIX magazine, is a statement of benefits promoting 1 year free on the carrier in bright lime green. I think this just demonstrates that a great package for one magazine doesn’t necessarily work for another. You have to know your audience and test, test, test.
What are your future plans?
For now, I am sticking with the Preferred Resident format for its cost-effectiveness and proven ability to deliver results; however, we continue to modify and test new package designs and inserts. The newest package will mail in a #10 envelope, incorporate more personalization and name the recipient’s actual city. The package also features a buck slip and an upscale z-fold brochure that highlights tips and ideas one might find by reading the magazine. The envelope has been scaled back even more to include only a return address and the phrase “non-transferable” in red ink. Wish us luck!
Upcoming Events: Ballantine will be exhibiting at the upcoming CircDay LA conference on Thursday, October 2nd at the Los Angeles Athletic Club. We will also be exhibiting in booth 636 at the upcoming DMA 08 conference in Las Vegas, October 12-14.