Things Remembered Woos Customers for Valentine's Day

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Personalized gift retailer Things Remembered is preparing to target consumers with a direct mail campaign for Valentine's Day that will drop Jan. 22.

In an effort to increase sales and consumer traffic at its 800 retail stores, pink-and-red postcards will be sent to consumers who bought at Things Remembered for Valentine's Day last year.

Data gathered at the point of purchase were instrumental in formulating campaign strategy, which is strictly retention-based. Through this, Things Remembered learned that consumers generally begin making Valentine's Day gift purchases about two weeks before the holiday.

"We want our postcards to hit as soon as people begin thinking about Valentine's Day," said Sylvia Morrison, president of Wolf Group Cleveland, which was named advertising agency of record for Things Remembered in November.

Morrison said this is the first direct mail drop that Things Remembered has done for Valentine's Day.

Three-panel postcards measuring 5.5 inches by 8.5 inches provide a canvas for the colors and tone Wolf used to arouse sentimental feelings and play off the company's occasion-centric merchandise. The pieces will feature "Great Gifts for $29.99," since the company has found that $30 or less is the price point for the most popular personalized gifts. A $10 engraving charge is included in the price for gifts priced at $29.99.

The slightly oversized cards were selected in an effort to stand out from other mail pieces and to provide additional space to showcase merchandise.

Response rates will be tracked through an occasion code. Consumers ordering merchandise via the Internet or telephone will be asked for the codes when making their purchases.

Recipients will be pulled from Things Remembered's database, which includes about 8 million names. However, the number of pieces to be dropped, the cost of the campaign, average customer acquisition costs and typical order sizes were not revealed.

Morrison did say that an estimated 10 million direct mail pieces will be dropped this year and that the average response rate for Things Remembered retention campaigns is 15 percent. Mailings are sent to consumers to coincide with the holiday season as well as Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day and other occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries based on past purchase history.

"The response rate is well above the industry standard for retention campaigns," she said.

Things Remembered sells items such as clocks, pens, picture frames and albums, trinket boxes, jewelry, clothing and blankets.

"For Valentine's Day, in particular, we can write any message on these items," said Ellen Jacob, personalization manager at Things Remembered, Highland Heights, OH. "People even bring in their own keepsakes to have engraved," she said.

Things Remembered is a division of the Cole National Corp. The retailer has stores in 46 states, a Web site and eight catalogs that it will use this year to target general gift consumers, wedding parties, brides-to-be and the business-to-business market.

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