Creating an Insert Media Dream Team

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As a direct marketing agency moves through the daily maze of managing its clients' immediate and long-term basic needs, it cannot lose sight of the marketing tools and talent it possesses as an insert media expert to enhance clients' profitability in nontraditional avenues.

If an agency is fortunate enough to obtain an exclusive client relationship and is privy to the client's proprietary analysis, the agency can provide a continuous spark of suggestions, solutions and sure-fire strategies that last a lifetime.

For example, does the client offer a gift premium with purchase? If not, a seasoned insert media agency can wisely advise whether testing a premium should be considered to enhance the client's response. If the client agrees, they should consult with experienced premium companies to make the most cost-effective and attractive premium-buying decisions. There also are many non-product premium offers to consider that can be brought to the client's attention through brokers, managers and other direct mail industry relationships.

If the client currently offers a premium, do the product and the premium fit the insert program? Do certain gift premiums perform better in one program than another? The answers can be sorted out in frequent meetings between the client and the insert media broker and manager.

Can the client plan and print efficiently to target gift premiums? Each client maintains different profit margins and expectations. A frequent analysis of targeting gift premiums to products should be an ongoing exercise for those companies able to institute this idea without costly production increases. If the client has a solid relationship with production sources, they can think of ways together to keep costs down while bringing in new customers.

Then there is the creative itself. Does it use space efficiently? Does the potential customer understand what the client is selling? When placed with a pack of other inserts, will it stand out? If there is an introductory offer, is it boldly told? If there is a free premium, is it the pivot of the piece? The client's creative team, whether in-house or outsourced, is the foundation upon which the entire insert media promotion lies. The proper graphics will target the desired audience and should enhance the customer base to the necessary profit level for a continual presence in this media channel.

Let's discuss the client who is unversed in the potential of insert media. Why use inserts? Some would say they are not as glamorous as direct mail or print media. But remember the adage: Do not judge a book by its cover.

What vehicle can deliver their message at the lowest cost? Which vehicle reaches the ultimate hotline buyer? Which piece always will be seen in a package and a statement and not tossed aside or hidden in the mail piling up on the dining room table? This is insert media. This is the channel that rises above its humble station to claim a dominant place in advertising. Many companies depend on insert media as their No. 1 source of response. They also relate that in recent years, the lifetime value of insert media customers challenges even their direct mail efforts.

Equally important to the agent and client relationship is the ability of the marketing expert to sift worthwhile traditional and nontraditional opportunities from those that experience has proven are not necessarily a fit for a particular product or message.

This applies equally to the insert manager and insert broker. Gaining the respect of the client through foresight and vision when presenting new and innovative methods of using insert media is the agency's main goal. The wisdom to dismiss short-term gain for the client's overall success is a major element in that strategy. If an agency is willing to go the extra distance to extend those extra services, their client relationships will be sustained throughout the cyclical vagaries of the market economy.

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