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Take a look at insert media – in 3-D

Multimedia inserts in all shapes and sizes offer marketers the opportunity to stand out from the crowd. But what about affordability? Four experts weigh the pros and cons of 3-D

Lori Fursman
Director of brokerage, Stanton Direct Marketing Inc.

From my experience, I would say using 3-D inserts is not worth it. Once you start putting money into an insert piece, you lose one of the best aspects of the medium. After all, the best thing about insert media is its affordability. You also have to be very weight sensi­tive with postal prices going up. To me, simple, direct, clean and clear is the way to go. While companies can find very good success with samples, they tend to be more focused on retail products than traditional direct response offers.

Numerous factors have created an environment for advertisers to look for new opportunities, including the FTC’s Do Not Call Registry, and ever increas­ing postage costs. At the same time, new programs are opening as owners of vari­ous distribution venues are looking for ways to save money and add revenue.

Insert media works on a scale of economy and determining the best strat­egies requires testing a number of differ­ent insert opportunities. For companies that have the patience to make it through the initial three to six month test phase, insert media can become a major channel for new customer acquisition

Inserts are great for their affordability, but postal costs rise with 3-D pieces

Hiroyuki Fukui
Chairman, AdPack USA

Compared to other 3-D items, light­weight inserts such as pocket tissues can be very effective for those who worry about postal rates. You want the prod­uct to be bulky so it catches the eye, but still lightweight. Additionally, there can be art and information on the front, back and edges.

Inserts that consumers can use and keep using keeps your message relevant and keeps the consumer from throwing your product away. Whether it’s a map, a coupon or a sample, ensure that your insert message is effective and targeted. This will give your key audi­ences a chance to interact with your brand and produce the ROI needed to guarantee success. With most credit card offers, for example, you might know before you open it that you don’t care about the contents because they are typi­cally branded the same way. But if they have an extra element, the bulk or the curiosity it piques will urge the consum­er to at least open it and see the offer.

With a flat insert, the person may not even open the envelope. Added cost adds value, creates intrigue and piques curiosity.

Inserts that consumers can re-use keeps your message top of mind

Linda Callahan
SVP, Leon Henry Inc.

Right now, response rates are down and disposable dollars are shrinking, yet customers and prospects are inundated with offers. You have to make your offer stand out if you want to get your share of the marketplace.

Insert messages do best when they are short and sweet and should be cost-effective. So how do you maximize your efforts with such a small space?

While I don’t usually recommend 3-D inserts, in the past I’ve worked with someone who created a multipiece insert that was very expensive to produce. They said that whenever they tried to produce a buckslip or a one-sheet that response fell, so the company felt it could justify the expense of this insert.

But our mantra is generally that inserts work because they’re less expen­sive. If a client is going through a lot of expense to create them it’s difficult to justify the costs because we gener­ally don’t think you can get a higher response rate.

An exception is samples. If you can afford to get a sample in someone’s hands, it’s a wonderful way to get some­one to test your product.

Know the balance of cost vs. response rate for your product or service

Timothy Kunhardt
President, Z-Card North America

Inserts have long been an effective marketing tool, but beyond the flat blow-ins of traditional insert media there are other practical ways to make this paper and ink sing louder for clients.

Pocket media formats create acanvas for marketers, combining mul­tifolded sheets and outer covers. In this format and with the right content and sales proposition, the insert can come to life in an interactive “sticky” form. Instead of straight to the trash, it can be straight to the purse, desk or kitch­en drawer — or wherever those pieces of reference live that stand out from the clutter and are spared the waste can.

Offers, discounts and coupons cre­ate return for brands, but corpora­tions also find other applications for pocket media. Company call centers see reduced traffic when frequently asked questions and other customer focused information are included in a useful print tool.

If consumers are keeping a company’s print and are repeatedly exposed to a company’s message, branding and offers, it creates a boon for the marketer and a positive consumer experience.

3-D inserts stand out from the clutter and create additional value

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