For insert marketers, size matters
Creative is important to any campaign — but for insert offers, weight, dimensions and paper choices are just as critical. Our expert panel weighs in on these elements
VP, director of management, RMI Direct Marketing
Insert size, weight and paper stock should be consistent with the type of product you are offering. As with direct mail, the paper and size can make a difference in how the piece is perceived. Luxury goods should not be promoted with matte finish, just as a deeply discounted continuity program may not require glossy.
Inserts reach a broad audience and, unlike direct mail, you cannot segment the list of people that receive the offer. The piece needs to be compelling and really represent the product or offer.
Ultimately, it comes down to testing. Sometimes overweight, fancy paper still pays off. It may even make sense to wrap the insert and include a sample.
When choosing a program, it's important to know how it works. For example, in package insert programs, the orders are most likely hand-inserted, so there is a richer option of creative to choose from and more wiggle room to negotiate price when it comes down to weight. I often tell clients who have a piece that is going to be overweight that they should go into a package insert program first. A heavy piece will incur a surcharge, but as long as it still fits the P&L, you're OK.
THE TAKEAWAY: Design your piece to fit the product, then find a program to carry it.
VP of insert media sales, Specialist Marketing Services
The most prolific mailers produce sizes for everything: bind-ins, blow-ins, package inserts programs, statements and ride-alongs. It provides flexibility for a variety of programs.
Statement and blow-in programs are very weight-sensitive. I always tell new mailers to test package insert programs, they can be up to a quarter of an ounce and don't have the same restrictions.
Then, they may want to try to expand their reach bind-in or blow-in offer. To adapt the piece for these different media, they have to pay extra attention to the weight and size requirements.
The number one concern when choosing a program should be the target audience. If a program owner has multiple options, then you can compare the requirements and choose what will work with a piece you may already have.
THE TAKEAWAY: Having options in piece size available improves your flexibility.
Director of list management, Acculist USA
bind-ins and blow-ins typically require a a physical sample. These inserts are particularly rigid in terms of paper type, size and weight requirements.
These programs are often cheaper and can at times be negotiated below the rate card price.
A bind-in, when printed, has to be twice as big as your actual piece. There are two binding types: saddlewire (staples) and perfect binding (glue). The perfect binding gives a more stable bind and is apt to seat a smaller piece more easily.
While it is possible to do a multifold bind-in or blow-in, be sure you are doing it because it really will drive response. The simpler you can make the shape of your blow-in, the better. If a publisher has room to cut costs, those savings will be passed on to the marketer as well.
THE TAKEAWAY: Send a test piece to the printer or lettershop to ensure that it will work.
VP of insert and print media, Paradysz Matera
Paper and size are critical elements for insert media marketing. The overriding factor is that there are restrictions for each program. But you can bend those restrictions when there is a pay-off. For example, AOL's CD inserts paid for themselves.
You must consider how best to generate awareness within the program. There is a lot of competition in an insert program, since there may be multiple offers and you have to grab the consumer's attention. You can use size and weight to stand out. When designing the piece, consider the complexity of the product or offer — for example, low-end products or uncomplicated offers will often not require multiple panels. In addition, if there is a simple 1-800 number or Web site call to action, you don't need a mail-in order form.
Marketers should utilize the available space of the program type they are using. Make your piece almost intrusive in the space that it has.
Lastly, you can utilize excess inventory in a program that the insert was designed for if the restrictions are met and the universe demographics still make sense.
THE TAKEAWAY: Optimize the space within the restrictions in order to make the most impact.