Co-Op Mailer Races to Doorstep of New Movers

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The American Homeowners Association pledges that its new co-op mail program can reach new movers before they've even had a chance to hold a housewarming party.


For two years, AHA has been building a program to reach new movers right after they arrive at their new homes. That program rolled out last week with 250,000 mailers, and the association promises advertising partners that it can deliver their message to new movers just two to three weeks after they complete their transition to their new homes.


AHA won't reveal details about its data sources, but president/founder Richard J. Roll said it doesn't use new mover data from the U.S. Postal Service.


"When we modeled the program, we realized that we wanted it as a premium program," he said. "It must perform at a level that is superior to other new mover programs."


AHA conceived the program, dubbed the AHA Official New Movers Kit, in 2003 as it contemplated turning to an integrated marketing strategy that added online and e-mail advertising to its mix. However, the association also wanted an offline, "touchable" element and one that provided its advertisers with a single, systematic way to reach new movers.


"We always had an interest in creating the right vehicle to reach new movers," Roll said. "We never found the quality equation until we put in years of research and development ourselves."


AHA had done many one-off mailers with ad sponsors in the past, he said. With the New Movers Kit, AHA envisioned a "hub and spokes" concept, seeing itself as the hub holding together the "spokes" of the various advertisers in one marketing mailer.


Co-sponsors of the mailer include: AOL, DirectStar TV, Liberty Mutual, Brinks Home Security, Sprint PCS, Gerber Life, BMG Music Club, The Sharper Image, Oreck, Guthy-Renker and Doubleday Book Club. The kit also contains an offer of a 30-day free-trial AHA membership.


The average rate for charter advertisers is less than $45 per thousand, AHA said. Ad sponsors are guaranteed to be exclusive in their category.


DirectStar TV, a retailer of DirecTV satellite service, is offering movers who sign up for its service a one-year membership in AHA, valued at $100. Advertisers can buy "gift certificates" good toward AHA membership at wholesale prices and offer them to new movers, Roll said.


The association plans to do the mailings monthly and raise volumes to 500,000 monthly later this year and to 1 million a month sometime in 2006. It also is considering adding recent movers and proven responsive homeowners to the new-mover mix.


"The exact pace depends on our ability to expand the quality of the data to that volume," Roll said. "We're not going to expand until we have a great deal of confidence that it's not diluting the impact."


AHA plans to offer sponsors of the co-op the chance to mail consumers right before they leave their old home, right after they arrive at their new home and three to six months later. The idea is to hit movers at multiple stages of the move, knowing that people make decisions at different points in the process, Roll said. Advertisers can get homeowners thinking about a product or service early in their move even though they won't buy until after the move is completed.


Scott Hovanyetz covers telemarketing, production and printing and direct response TV marketing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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