Mailer Highlights Marriage's Weighty Issues

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Being a newlywed gave Brett Perlmutter a campaign idea for a client, a Southern California retailer of suits and menswear.


"It was during the winter and I had gotten married in April [2002], and I realized that I ate better because my wife was cooking for me," said Perlmutter, president of integrated marketing firm Rainmaker & Sun, Sherman Oaks, CA. "I gained an inch on my waistline, and I had to have all my pants let out. Almost every guy I talked to has gone through the same thing after getting married."


Perlmutter pitched the idea to 3 Day Suit Broker of Woodland Hills, CA, "and they loved it.


"When people get married, there is a redirection of a man's style. They upgrade their wardrobe based on input from their wives."


An 11-by-6-inch postcard was mailed to 11,000 newlyweds to drive sales at 3 Day Suit Broker's 10 locations in Southern California. Two drops were made, in January and March.


"If we dropped them all at once, there could have been bad weather, or bad news, affecting it, so we wanted to play it safe and allow for any factors that might occur," he said. "The weather tends to be good in California, but when it rains in the winter many people won't go out to shop."


Persuading recipients to visit one of the shops were two offers: 50 percent off the cost of tailoring and 10 percent off any purchase. The 10 percent discount generated sales in business casual wear and accessories as well as suits, Perlmutter said.


Those targeted were married in the last three to four months of 2002 and lived within 10 miles of a store. Whether mailers were addressed to husbands or wives depended on the database sorting.


"MOST MEN HAVE NO TROUBLE ADJUSTING TO MARRIED LIFE (IT'S THEIR PANTS THAT HAVE THE PROBLEM.)" appeared on the front of the postcard along with a photo of a man struggling to close his pants. The "Newlywed Bliss" card contained price information and the addresses and phone numbers of stores on the back.


"I knew I would catch their attention with the visual, whether it was the husband or the wife who received it," Perlmutter said. "It's not one of those issues that a wife doesn't know about."


A stock photo was used.


"The licensing fee was a minute part of the equation," he said. "Agencies are [increasingly] buying stock [photos] these days as opposed to shooting photos for creative. We would have shot it 10 years ago. Now we would rather go for a stock shot. The shoot would cost much more. A shoot would cost, including modeling fees, maybe about $2,500, or $5,000 for a preferred model."


Total per-piece expense was about $1.20.


"It generated about 120 people coming in with the card to take advantage of the offers," he said. "It was slightly over 1 percent on the response, and they were happy with it."


The average order was $140, spent on suits and tailoring as well as shirts, pants, shoes and graduation gifts.


"It made all the money back and more, but the real issue is the lifetime value of the customer since that goes far beyond the initial spend," he said. "We also got e-mail addresses from the people, reducing the future cost of marketing to them. The goal was to bring in new customers, and we want to continue to facilitate continuous purchases. Also, some of these people came back for additional items soon after their first visit.


"Sometimes the best ideas come from real-life experiences."


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