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Eliminate the ‘A’ Word

Insert media has made tremendous strides since the idea of a full-day event was conceived almost two years ago.

The second successful Direct Marketing Association Insert Media Day last month reconfirmed a high interest in more education on many aspects of this type of media. Audiences in packed sessions seemed to soak up the information with enthusiasm. Having mailers on the panel helped attendance and fueled lively Q&A during the sessions.

With insert media sections in DM News and articles in other publications, we have experienced great press coverage since 2003. This recognition catapulted small and large companies alike to a new level. Companies have expanded insert media divisions and are taking more aggressive roles in finding new mailers, if new mailers haven’t found these companies on their own.

Insert media has expanded its horizon beyond the usual select group of mailers and now includes a wider range of advertisers, all interested in the medium’s cost effectiveness. With postal increases always looming and printing costs rising, the timing is right for new mailers to test insert media. Given all the press coverage, a day devoted to insert media and prominent mailers praising the medium, it’s time for even the reluctant to get involved.

Membership in the DMA Insert Media Council has reflected the current interest level, skyrocketing 55 percent in two years!

This is all very positive, and we want to keep the momentum flowing. There are additional goals that need our attention.

To expand on these accomplishments and receive further recognition and mailer acceptance, we need a coordinated effort. If we all agree on that premise, shouldn’t we have uniformity? Some have suggested the need for all insertion orders, invoices and similar paperwork to have the same format, except for individual company logos.

This may be a difficult task.

We may want to consider a simple first step. All direct marketing companies with insert media divisions should refer to those divisions as insert media rather than any form of the “A” word, be it alternate or alternative.

This would create a stronger force in marketing, with current mailers and new mailers we hope to attract. It should include all printed material, trade show booths, Web sites, ads in trade publications and articles appearing in any publication.

Many companies have gone to great lengths promoting insert media and eliminating the “A” word from anything connected to their name. We need to expand this premise to cover all companies in insert media. A united front demonstrates insert media’s strength and importance.

When well-known mailers speak out on the dominant role insert media plays in their overall direct marketing campaign, we know we have made great strides.

List owners have rallied by bringing new package inserts, ride alongs and insert media’s answer to the biggest explosion, the catalog blow-in, to the marketplace. Since we agreed to change the Alternate Response Media Council’s name to the Insert Media Council, we want to showcase these programs in the most updated way.

We need every company to be up to speed. It is essential to have all aspects of insert media working in tandem. New mailers and new list owners are taking notice, which was one of our original expansion goals.

It’s acceptable to talk about alternative energy or alternative medicine. It is not acceptable to use that word when referring to the new description of insert media we have all worked hard to establish. We have made more progress in the past few years than in the previous 35 years. Help keep the momentum going by updating material to “alternate free” status and finally get well-deserved recognition for the industry’s achievements.

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