Fingerhut Stuck on Yellow Stickies

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Results from Fingerhut's first test using repositionable notes more than offset the cost of using the program, the company said last week.


Fingerhut Direct Marketing Inc., St. Paul, MN, was the first national customer to use RPNs on its catalogs after the U.S. Postal Service began a test that added rates for the notes, also known as "yellow stickies," on direct mail this spring. The test ends April 3, 2006.


Fingerhut mailed 200,000 catalogs in April, half of which had a RPN urging customers to "Order Today! Don't let this be your Last Catalog." The other half received a personalized RPN with the recipient's name and offered a gift with any order. The RPNs created an initial spike in orders, Fingerhut said, and the "Last Catalog" RPN produced five times the response as the personalized message.


"The increase in sales definitely offset the cost of producing the RPN," said Mike Sidders, Fingerhut's director of e-commerce and new customer acquisition. "Fingerhut is strongly considering testing RPNs again in future campaigns to evaluate other variations of customer retention and acquisition methods."


RPNs are popular because they can go from the outside of a mail piece to a customer's telephone, computer monitor, refrigerator or calendar, extending the lifespan of a direct marketer's message, the USPS said. RPNs are allowed on all letter- and flat-sized mail sent at discount First-Class, Standard and Periodicals rates. The added rate for RPN-bearing mail is 0.5 cents for First-Class pieces and 1.5 cents for Standard and Periodicals pieces.


The postal service said 593 customers have sent nearly 27 million pieces of mail with RPNs since April, when the product became available for a fee, including Standard mail (410,614 flats and 23.26 million letters) and First-Class mail (3,778 flats and 3.3 million letters).


Some direct mailers opposed the test of the added rate, arguing that it doesn't cost the USPS extra to process.


Melissa Campanelli covers postal news, CRM and database 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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