Ads on Envelopes Gaining Popularity

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The job of a professional insert broker - in addition to finding the best marketing synergies, with the most fitting offer, at the most appropriate price - is to present clients with a continual stream of new ideas and opportunities. Being able to do this is based on a culmination of knowing your clients' market and then making it happen.


In addition to years of expertise, you must use the assistance of the several dozen excellent insert managers in this business, since they have had many different experiences and can use their contacts to help you. One of the opportunities that is gaining popularity and is now reflecting about a 25 million circulation is package insert envelope advertising, or putting your ad right on the envelope housing inserts.


Years ago, there was either no message on the envelope or more recently one printed in two color that said something like, "Special offers inside for you [our favorite customer]." Today, in part because of the momentum gained especially by online merchandisers, savvy insert marketers are printing their Web addresses and toll-free numbers. Now this medium is carving a niche as the hottest Web site-driving media. We are predicting that this will be a very fast growing venue of advertising as our inquiry research to the trade revealed at least another 20 million opportunities for annual circulation than are on the market now that are under consideration.


The direct mailer's message is read by the ultimate direct mail hotline buyer whose merchandise shipments come with not only the merchandise, but also with an enticing envelope suggesting new buying pathways for the customer. Creative thinkers and developers can provide innovative "bonsai-sized" graphics for envelope advertising to also sell their merchandise.


Each insert owner has its own requirements relative to artwork format, delivery dates/lead time and minimums. Formats are variable, with some companies requiring special PMS color and some only one or two color. Lead time is usually longer than package insert programs, about six weeks on average, and minimums are variable depending on whether ads are being done for a quarter or a month and it is usually "all available" that is required. However, when a mailer finally has its ad on a package insert envelope as well as an actual insert inside the envelope, managers surmise that there is an increased response over just having an insert in the envelope alone.


This also is a way for mailers on limited budgets to test insert media by first using PIP envelope advertising to measure general performance of the channel. Prices run about one-half as much or even one-third the cost of true insert programs. Some direct marketers that take advantage of this medium include those in various categories, such as apparel, general merchandise, health and beauty and gift sellers. There are some owners who think it is advantageous to print logos on the PIP envelope of all mailers inserting inside the envelope. This is brand building for the advertiser and an instant implied endorsement for the PIP owner.


All insert program owners might do well to make envelope advertising available. Only 11 currently do. Select who you would like your customers to see endorsing your products and test the waters for potential future strategic alliances between those companies. It is an additional revenue stream that is labor limited and that will offset the shipment postage and handling costs and the printing of the envelopes and/or invoices on the packages.


As brokers look for new strategies, envelope advertising should be considered in light of its advantages that include almost 25 million reach (and perhaps much more imminently), cost effectiveness, limited risk and especially for purposes of a Web site driver. And managers should encourage their insert owners to extend this media of advertising to their inserters as it is relatively simple, a good test for affinity and endorsements and an extra source of revenue.


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