Cost-cutting insert strategies for 2009

Traditional media such as inserts can offer steady success in the coming year for marketers — especially in an era of postage and paper cost increases, say four insert media experts.

Jody Smith
Division manager, Leon Henry

With a postage increase expected in 2009 and ever-rising paper expenses, the number of new insert programs is only continuing to grow, as well as the number of insert advertisers.

While response rates are not as high as solo direct mail, insert media — par­ticularly package insert programs — offer advertisers a cost-effective way to reach true, hotline buyers, virtually at the point of purchase when interest level and visibility are high. Also, by riding inside a company’s outbound package, catalog or statement, inserts also offer the ben­efit of an implied endorsement.

With more than 6,000 catalogs avail­able, insert media’s potential in the category is significant, offering sizeable volume and rollout potential via chan­nels such as package insert programs, blow-ins, bind-ins and on-page ad opportunities. Additional areas with continued growth include statement insert and ride-along programs, which typically offer large volume as well as relative exclusivity.

For best results, we recommend mailers create multiple formats to fit the varied program mix — and our No. 1 advice is to test, test, test.

Rising expenses mean the number of new insert programs will grow in 2009

Stan Madyda
SVP, Estee Marketing Group

Marketers will be faced with many challenges in 2009, and should not overlook insert media.

A marketer should consider available insert programs in their core market. If lists that have been successful in the mail offer an insert program, develop an insert plan to test them. Insert media can also allow companies to test markets that they would not nor­mally try with direct mail, especially in a down economy.

Package insert programs still deliver the best response. However, catalog inserts have been growing in popu­larity with new programs becoming available on a regular basis. Expect to see more on the market in 2009. They allow insert marketers to reach a large universe of potential customers at a very low cost per thousand.

Many Web based businesses have privacy policies stating they do not rent their lists. However, they can include inserts in merchandise shipments or cat­alog mailings. Publications’ mail renewal notices and statements could be opened up to outside inserts. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

Catalog inserts have been growing in popularity, with new programs available

Karen Cha
EVP, Singer Direct

What we foresee for 2009 is that brand marketers, who have been heav­ily reliant on traditional mass media advertising channels, will look for new, accountable forms of media. Inserts, once thought to be an old school means of advertising, can shine again as new media in this environment.

Advertisers can ensure that their mes­sages get noticed, because they will be reaching merchandise buyers who have opted in to receive a mail order catalog or have just ordered through a catalog or Web site. Packaged goods companies, which have struggled getting consumers to try their products, can now efficiently deliver product samples to the right tar­get at home, right at the point of usage.

In addition, as both online and bricks-and-mortar major retailers look to improve their bottom lines next year, we also predict that those who may not have previously considered accepting outside advertising, will now see the value of this untapped revenue source. For example, Sears has just opened up its catalogs and merchandise ship­ments to outside advertisers for the first time. We expect this to continue as companies look to improve profitability.

Insert media will hold its own in 2009 as brand marketers seek accountable media

Scott Marden
Director of marketing research, Vertis

As marketers look ahead to 2009,it is imperative to take note of cur­rent research that demonstrates that advertising inserts are the single most effective medium at influencing con­sumers’ buying decisions.

Recent data shows that 28% of “trail­blazers,” a sociodynamic attitude cluster representing early adopters and fashion leaders, now name inserts as the No. 1 most influential medium for their buy­ing decisions, surpassing television by 9%; and 51% of those trailblazers pay attention to ad inserts on a weekly basis.

Additionally, marketers must acknowledge the fact that ad inserts are now effective among every economic class, giving advertisers a chance to not only make deals with bargain hunters, but grow revenue with the more lucra­tive consumers. Research shows that 56 percent of adults with annual household incomes of more than $100,000 report browsing for new products and styles in advertising inserts, while 56 percent of American households earning less than $30,000 a year report using ad inserts to clip coupons.

Target early adopters and fashion leaders with inserts on special deals and promos

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