Service Slices Golf Firm's Turnaround Time on DM Pieces

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Arnold Palmer Golf Management has cut the turnaround time on direct marketing pieces from two weeks to several days, a crucial benefit since the pieces contain special offers tied to weather conditions.

"Our business is weather-driven," said Julie Echols, director of creative services at APGM, which Arnold Palmer founded in 1984. The company acquires, leases, franchises and manages more than 40 public and private golf facilities worldwide. "We need to be quick about dropping our direct mail pieces."

The number of rounds played -- and revenue -- drops considerably on rainy days. To entice people back, APGM sends offers with special rates and other incentives to golfers who have had their rounds canceled because of bad weather.

The problem was that it was taking APGM too long to develop the offers, print them and get them in the hands of golfers. To get offers to golfers while the canceled round was still fresh in their minds, the company began working with Mailnet Services Inc., Nashville, TN, in May. The company offers MailnetExpress, an Internet-based service that automates direct mail, fax and e-mail marketing campaigns, from creative development to final delivery.

APGM has worked with MailnetExpress on three campaigns since May consisting of 5,000 postcards each.

APGM designs its piece and then uploads its creative and mailing list to the MailnetExpress Web site, The company can use its own art or select images from MailnetExpress' art library.

"MailnetExpress is quick, and it's very easy to use," Echols said. "We create original artwork at our headquarters in Orlando and upload it on the MailnetExpress Web site. We view proofs online before the pieces drop. Once a piece is created, it's housed in our own private library. By creating our own artwork and making it available online to our golf courses, we keep creative control over the look and feel of the piece, but the course marketing directors can personalize the piece with their own message."

While APGM would not comment on costs, Mailnet Services said the average cost for a full-color postcard is about 49 cents, including postage and printing.

Tom Herrmann, executive vice president at Mailnet Services, said that while this is comparable to the cost of doing a traditional mailing with a printer, "this is a lot easier. If I am using this service, I don't have to worry about calling the lettershop to see if the print pieces have gotten there yet, and I don't have to call the printer to see how the print run is going."

APGM also has used Listcleanup, another service offered by Mailnet Services. From updating addresses to appending phone numbers and e-mail addresses, Listcleanup allows APGM to target their mailings better and save money by reducing forwarding costs associated with incorrect and out-of-date addresses.

"The option of cleansing our mailing lists is great," Echols said. "Prior to most mailings, we don't know how accurate some of our lists are. Before we used Listcleanup, we had a lot of wasted mail pieces. Since our pieces contain dated material, we had to throw them away. Now, we cleanse our list and get an accurate count of how many pieces we need to print."


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