Insert Media Is Important Part of DM, Mailers Say

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GREENWICH, CT -- Insert media is a crucial part of the direct marketing efforts of three major consumer mailers, executives from those three mailers told a panel discussion at a luncheon here yesterday.

The event, "Meet the Insert Media Experts," was a collaboration between the Hudson Valley Direct Marketing Association and the Direct Marketing Association Insert Media Council held at Fairview Country Club.

"Inserts are an important acquisition strategy for us," said Jennifer A. Garcia, director of marketing, customer acquisition print, Scholastic Inc. "In fact, it is the No. 1 media that we use for customer acquisition."

JoAnna DeGennaro, director, package enclosures at Bookspan, said that inserts are a big prospecting tool for her firm, too.

"Some of our clubs use inserts for as much as two-thirds of their overall acquisition efforts," she said. "They are very important for bringing in new members."

For BMG Music Service, inserts are one-third in the mix of direct marketing media behind Internet and direct mail, and they comprise about 13 percent of the marketing mix, said Heather Krueger, member acquisitions, BeMusic, Bertelsmann Inc.

The panelists agreed that evaluating the effectiveness of insert media was a constant in terms of the lifetime value of customers acquired via inserts as well as the pay-up percentage of insert customers. Pay up was cited as a big challenge for all three mailers.

"We are always testing cash with order incentives to help improve pay up," DeGennaro said.

Krueger said that BMG had tested putting the URL for its Web site on its insert pieces since pay up for its online members was about double and response increased slightly.

As for testing new insert programs, price was stated as a big factor for all the mailers.

"Margins are razor thin, and even $1/M makes a difference," said Garcia.

According to Krueger, BMG needs 20 percent return on investment for each program, and that drives what kind of price per thousand it can pay for tests.

"You don't get the same response as with solo direct mail, so as little as 50 cents per thousand can be enough to miss the cut-off," said DeGennaro.

All three mailers also have multiple insert programs available on the market.

Despite pricing issues, each mailer said that they are always looking for opportunities in new programs and new markets. All three have tested into the Hispanic market with promising initial results.

Bruce Gold, co-founder of Madison Direct Marketing, moderated the panel.

At the start of the day's program, Leon Henry, chairman/CEO of Leon Henry Inc., Hartsdale, NY, reminded attendees that the DMA's second annual Insert Media Day would take place Sept. 9 at the Hilton Rye Town, Rye, NY.

The luncheon was sponsored by King Lithographers & Mailers.


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