Day-Timers To-Do List: Get Younger Users

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Day-Timers enters its peak selling season with its largest prospecting campaign in several years as it looks to expand its reach to a younger audience.


"Our core audience is the 35- to 54-year-old man and woman," said Kim Kurtz, new customer marketing manager at Day-Timers, Allentown, PA. "But we have identified opportunities in younger as well as older demographics, and that is why our prospecting efforts have increased this year."


The maker of traditional planners mailed 2 million pieces in August and will mail another 2 million within a week or so. It will mail a total of 13 million pieces for the year, with the bulk of those coming in the third and fourth quarters.


"Not many people purchase planners nine months before the new year," Kurtz said. "Most people either buy them a few weeks, or two to three months before the start of the new year."


She would not say how many mailings will go to prospects in their 20s. She said that the company uses more than 100 lists per month -- including book buyers, magazine subscribers and seminar attendee lists.


While Kurtz stressed that Day-Timers was not refocusing its prospecting efforts on a younger demographic, she said the company would look to create a version of its control piece designed to show younger prospects that traditional day planners can meet their needs.


David Christensen, vice president of direct marketing, said traditional day planners always will have an audience despite the emergence of hand-held devices.


"There has obviously been a growth of Palm pilot and PDA users, but there is always going to be a reservoir of people who prefer [the Day-Timer] approach," he said. "And the jury is still out as to how the traditional day planner and the electronic planner are going to coexist. I don't see it being totally wiped away like the slide rule was when the calculator came along. ... The ability to put pen to paper and freely think by jotting down ideas and brainstorming is a benefit of the traditional planner."


Day-Timers has surveyed users of hand-held devices to see whether they also use traditional planners, and, if so, how they alternate between the two types. Kurtz would not reveal the results. The company soon will survey customers to see whether they plan to switch to an electronic organizer or already use one.


The mailer is Day-Timers' control package it has used for the past two years that does not change except for special offers.


A personalized cover letter stresses the theme of the campaign, which is "Spend a minute. Save an hour." The goal is to show recipients that spending just a minute reading about its product and purchasing one will help them save much more time in their day-to-day activities. The letter outlines all of the features provided in the planner along with its price.


The order form touts a free 90-day trial period. Users can return the planner at the end of the trial period "if it doesn't help me put time on my side," the form reads. "No questions asked." The form provides another listing of the planner's features as well as three response mechanisms, including a fax number, a BRC and a toll-free number.


The third portion of the mail piece looks like a leather day planner. When opened it reveals two pages created to look like the actual inside of a planner with appointments and names written on them.


Kurtz said it sees an average response rate of 1.2 percent per month. She would not discuss the cost of the campaign.


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