Five questions for: Lisa Lynn, director of marketing and communications at UPS

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Lisa Lynn
Lisa Lynn

UPS launched a new insert marketing service in early October in five US metropolitan areas with Bed Bath and Beyond, Men's Wearhouse and Zappos. DMNews chats with Lisa Lynn, director of marketing and communications at UPS, about ways the program differs from traditional insert media, the overall challenges marketers face and how to make a statement in white.

Q: How is the Direct-to-Door program different from traditional insert media?

A: We think of insert media as more of a package insert program. If somebody were to order something from a retailer, third party promotional materials might be included. The Direct-to-Door package arrives alongside that delivery in a separate box that leverages the UPS brand rather than inserted in the retailer's package.

Q: Do consumers perceive the two kinds of inserts differently?

A: People have gotten used to expecting inserts in packages that they order. I can't remember the last time I ordered something and it didn't have an insert in it, either from the company I ordered from or from others. We feel that because the Direct-to-Door program is something new and unique, arriving in a UPS branded box is really going to stand out.

Q: Do you think this program will appeal to marketers?

A: Marketers today are looking for unique programs and unique ways of reaching consumers.

We are seeing an evolution in traditional media of all kinds. From a direct perspective, newspapers were the foundation for a long time. They were brought to the home and consumed at the recipient's leisure. But newspaper circulation is down and the cost and complexity of doing direct mail is increasing while response rates are staying fairly low. Under these circumstances, I think that marketers are really looking for something new that is going to standout.

Q: Did you put some thought into the look of the box itself?

A: Obviously, we needed to design a box that would resonate. Using feedback from some focus group research we did, we decided to make the box white, which was a little bit of a calculated risk for us. Most of the boxes that consumers receive from carriers are plain brown cardboard, so we're hoping a white box will really catch their attention. Consumers also told us a white box is also something a little unexpected from UPS, as is the whole concept of getting offers this way. The preliminary reports from the initial group of mailings we did indicate that the boxes were received in good condition with no dirt on them.

Q: How will you measure the program on the back end?

A: We just concluded the distribution of the packages on October 2 with offers from Bed Bath and Beyond, Men's Wearhouse and Zappos. While it's still early, the early indicators are good.

We will look at how consumers respond to the offers inside the Direct-to-Door vs. similar offers they receive in other channels. We are also evaluating how much creative flexibility we can offer clients with their inserts. Dimensional creative holds a lot of appeal, and sampling is something that I think is a great opportunity. Delivering samples via Direct-to-Door is a great way to break through the clutter and perhaps get a better conversion rate than with a straight coupon.

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