Pitney Bowes Seeks Ubiquity for Its Insert Efforts

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NEW YORK -- When postage meter marketer Pitney Bowes Direct began thinking about acquiring more small-business customers in new ways, it adopted an insert media strategy of ubiquity, according to speakers here yesterday at the Direct Marketing Association's Insert Media Council luncheon.

"We wanted to be everywhere that a small-business owner might be looking," said Michelle Palmer, marketing analyst, alternative media channel for the Pitney Bowes Direct division of Pitney Bowes Inc., Stamford, CT.

After encountering the typical challenges direct marketers face with solo direct mail, telemarketing and DRTV such as lack of list universe, diminished response rates, targeting the right individual in an organization and high media rates, Palmer said the firm looked into insert media. The company began strategizing with direct response agency True North Inc. last year.

The first steps involved determining selection criteria, building a test plan and developing creative, said Neil Feinstein, director of creative strategy at True North.

"Since ubiquity was the overarching strategy, we had to put our message wherever we, the small businessperson, is thinking about business," he said.

Those locations included the mailbox, the inbox, shopping and at events. Proving successful were billing statement inserts, business new mover packages and package inserts. Another successful endeavor has been take-ones at office supply stores and in post offices.

Some of the best insert media efforts by Pitney Bowes have been through co-branded inserts with partner companies, Palmer said.

Test and learn was another aspect of the firm's insert strategy, Feinstein said. Testing the size of inserts, the creative and the response mechanisms is key.

Because inserts are a low-response medium, minimizing printing and production costs is crucial. Using smaller pieces, gang printing and driving response to the Web are all ways to cut costs, he said.

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