Inserts Give Silkies Leg Up as Continuity Program Changes

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NEW YORK -- Insert media is a crucial direct marketing medium for the Silkies hosiery continuity program in two ways, according to Pat Corpora, president/CEO of HCI Direct Inc.

"It is a major source of revenue, and it is a major source of membership," Corpora told attendees at the Direct Marketing Association's 3rd annual Insert Media Day at the Marriott Marquis yesterday.

Though HCI Direct did not even use insert media until after Corpora joined the firm in 2003, he said that the revenue generated by inserts now surpasses list revenue for the company.

Corpora then shifted his talk to the question asked in the session title, "Can Continuity Programs Survive in Today's Customer-Centric World?" His answer was yes, but with some adjustments.

One challenge for continuity programs is that consumers can obtain products much more easily than in the past from the Internet as well as from mass retailers and discount stores. That issue, coupled with continuity programs historically not being customer friendly and being saddled with bad reputations, has dictated that programs change, Corpora said.

"Customer research indicated that customers wanted more control of the program," he added.

HCI Direct, Bensalem, PA, changed the Silkies program with that in mind. Changes were tested, and ultimately the company updated its product line and ensured its offer was stated clearly as a continuity program. Most importantly, the company let customers customize the program to fit their needs, with more choices in terms of frequency of shipments, styles, colors and more options for customer service through the Web, e-mail, toll-free telephone numbers and mail.

The changes stabilized response, increased continuation rates and decreased customer complaints, Corpora said.

Kristen Bremner covers list news, insert media, privacy and fundraising for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting

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