Pak Mail Postcards Customized on Web

Pak Mail Center of America and its franchises are launching customized postcard campaigns by using a Web interface that lets them design mailers, rent lists and upload data online.

Pak Mail, Denver, first tested the customized postcard campaigns last year and scheduled another nationwide drop this month. In addition, about 15 percent of Pak Mail's 360 franchise locations are using the online system, provided by Fingertip Marketing, to design their own postcard campaigns independent of the national effort.

The campaigns target Pak Mail's business-to-business market, in particular gift shops, antique stores and art galleries, Pak Mail's primary commercial users.

The postcards cost 59 cents apiece, which includes postage and the cost of list uploading or rental. A mailer to 250 prospects costs less than $150.

Evan Lasky, president/CEO of Pak Mail, declined to reveal response rates from the campaigns but said Pak Mail plans another nationwide drop for September and is considering including money for more campaigns in its national ad budget for 2004. Data provided by Fingertip Marketing has proven accurate, Lasky said.

“So far, we're pleased with the project,” Lasky said. “Our bad addresses are well under 7 to 8 percent on a national basis.”

Pak Mail tested Fingertip Marketing's service in 2002 with two separate mail drops. The company wanted to find a way to do a national mail campaign for its independent franchises, which pay annually into a corporate advertising fund, without resorting to generic mail pieces.

Thanks to digital print technology provided by Anderson Direct, San Diego, it was possible to start a national campaign involving about 80,000 postcards while customizing each postcard to suit the needs of individual franchises.

About 250 postcards went out for each franchise location, Lasky said. Each postcard bears address and contact information for a Pak Mail franchise near the recipient.

Pak Mail targeted prospects whose businesses were within a few miles of a franchise and identified desirable prospects using Standard Industrial Classification codes, a government code often used by mailers to classify businesses by category in mailing lists.

Fingertip Marketing provided a design template for the postcards and also the data for the campaign. It also partnered with Anderson Direct to print and ship the postcards.

The results of the test efforts last year led Pak Mail to follow up with more Fingertip postcards this year. It also led the company to let Fingertip market its services directly to the individual franchises, Lasky said.

Fingertip Marketing set up a Web site through which Pak Mail franchisees can log on, choose from a selection of art and special offers, buy and upload lists and pay for campaigns by credit card. The minimum postcard volume is 250.

Images available for the postcards are limited to those approved by Pak Mail, which wants to ensure that marketing by its franchisees doesn't conflict with its national brand. However, the service gives franchise owners, many of whom lack marketing experience, the freedom to do their own marketing to supplement the national efforts of the corporate headquarters without having to hire an ad agency.

“This is the kind of thing the franchisees love,” Lasky said. “They don't get bogged down.”

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