Pinnacle Deals Winning Hand in Postcard Campaign

Pinnacle Benefits Group played its cards right on a recent direct mail campaign and parlayed its usual 0.5 percent response into a rate of 7.7 percent.

Until earlier this year, the 10-year-old Winston-Salem, NC, insurance wholesaler specialized solely in individual health insurance. Looking for a way to introduce a variety of new products to insurance agents — including life, Medicare supplemental, senior life and supplemental health insurance — the company's in-house marketing team created a shrink-wrapped package of 16 4-by-6-inch postcards, each highlighting a different new product.

Each glossy postcard had a slightly different color scheme, but the overall format was essentially consistent from card to card. Each card included the name of the Pinnacle sales agent for a specific product as well as the agent's telephone number.

The postcards mailed in March to 7,400 insurance agents.

The goal was to create a simple, yet professional appearance that would distinguish the pack from other industry card packs. Pinnacle hoped the postcards would have a longer shelf life than its typical direct mail pieces, president/CEO Raymond Richard said.

The back card in the pack highlighted Pinnacle Points, the company's incentive program, which lets agents earn points that can be redeemed for electronics, sporting goods, home furnishings, jewelry, outdoors items, exercise equipment and travel packages, including Pinnacle's annual incentive trip.

The cards detailed the compensation package attached to a specific insurance plan as well as that plan's specifics.

The company's typical annual direct mail campaign consisted of a single postcard highlighting one or two Pinnacle products. Between 50,000 and 100,000 postcards normally dropped to all of the agents in a particular area, the names of which were acquired from a list.

Along with focusing on more than one product, this year's campaign differed in another way by having a more targeted mailing list. Pinnacle mailed the postcard pack to 7,400 agents currently or previously contracted with by the company, and to agents who had requested information about Pinnacle in the past year.

The decision to use a more targeted list was based on the piece being more expensive than Pinnacle's typical mail piece. The average single postcard mailer from the company costs 40 cents per item to produce and mail, while the 16-card pack cost $1.10 per piece.

The campaign produced 568 new agent appointments in the three months after the initial drop date, generating a 7.7 percent response rate. Pinnacle plans to repeat the campaign using multiple cards next year.

Chantal Todé covers BTB marketing for DM To keep up with the latest BTB news subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter DM News Daily by visiting //

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