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Congratulations, Leon Henry

Not many founders survive to celebrate their company’s 50th year in business. More likely, their companies are not around, either. That’s not the case with Leon Henry and Leon Henry Inc. May both have a long life.

We congratulate Mr. Henry for celebrating the golden anniversary of his self-named company. Along with his wife, Thelma, and family and colleagues, he has stayed the course to see his creation become one of the nation’s leading insert media firms.

The insert media business does not have the razzle-dazzle of interactive marketing – check our Essential Guide to Interactive Marketing Technology in the April 24 issue of DM News – or a reason to justify a chest-thump every day. But it is a $1 billion industry, according to some estimates. And it serves a need that is understood by some and ignored by others. It has made firms like Bose one of the premier audio brands worldwide.

Those slips in your mail order packages or magazines work. But it takes persistence and evangelizing and a willingness to test an insert program or create one. There lies the rub. Few people in the insert media business regularly speak up for blow-ins, bind-ins, ride-alongs, statement stuffers, coop mailers, package inserts and bangtails. If they do, it’s usually preaching to the choir and with few publicly disclosed examples to prove the medium’s efficacy and relevance. There’s just too much secrecy involved. That’s got to change.

Leon Henry Inc.’s golden anniversary is a great occasion for the insert media industry to take to the rooftops. See what the interactive marketing and technology players do. Ad:tech San Francisco this week again promises to bring together thousands of brand and direct marketers under one roof with technology and marketing services providers. They will share tips, notes, business cards, meals and cabs. They will disclose findings, launch products or services, boast about campaign successes and wag fingers at worst practices. They will raise the bar yet once more for interactive advertising, marketing and media. Such cheerleading has helped generate $12.5 billion in interactive advertising revenue from mere change a decade ago, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

So how about an insert media firm taking a booth at the next ad:tech show or Shop.org summit? Target online retailers. Help them create a program or participate in one. If the insert media industry is to grow, it must target sectors that are growing: e-commerce and online marketing. The more the remote orders, the more the packages delivered to home or office addresses. And the more the reason to encourage marketers to test or create relevant, targeted inserts for those packages. Do raise the subject with Mr. Henry at his golden anniversary party. Or drop a note in his gift package.

Mickey Alam Khan is editor in chief of DM News. His editorial appears Mondays on www.dmnews.com and in our e-mail newsletter. You can subscribe to our e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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