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Mail Smarter, Mail To More People, And Mail More Often  [Mail:]

June 15, 2007

Todd Butler

Published May/June 2007 / MAIL: The Journal of Communication Distribution 
Measure, refine, segment: all essential skills for non-profits utilizing the Postal Service for distribution of news letters, solicitations and recruiting materials. All code words for mailing fewer pieces and reducing the size of your potential audience to save money.
If you decrease your outreach to reduce costs how do you increase the number of students, loyal supporters and revenue?
Most non-profits have been seduced by the siren song of the Internet as a way of reducing costs. Consultants claim the Internet is easier, cheaper, and more responsive than direct mail. But if your donor base was born pre-computer, donations arrive via the Postal Service written on paper checks, carried by the envelopes you supplied.
But how do you supply envelopes over the Internet? These 21st century gurus also point out (to universities) that potential students are on-line and don’t read paper based marketing materials. Unfortunately, the people paying the bills are not as fully integrated into the digital world as their children.
Direct mail can do it all! Interactive multimedia is the future of advertising. It’s video, animation, one click access to multiple landing pages and interactive communication with consumers. It lifts response rates on-line by 500%. On-line marketers claim it’s a functionality old media can’t deliver. Interactive multimedia on-line is called rich media. Interactive multimedia delivered by the Postal Service is called Multimedia Mail.
Multimedia Mail is the integration of print advertising, interactive optical disks, and the Internet. Print advertising carries the disk through postal processing and starts engaging consumers immediately upon removal from the mail box. The optical disk delivers interactive multimedia whether the recipient is on-line or off-line. The disk also has links to the Internet, delivering recipients to (predetermined) on-line landing pages in one click. Multimedia Mail is the only proactive, targeted Internet advertising available to marketers. It is the only Internet advertising capable of providing a return envelope for donations made by check.
Whether it’s on-line or off-line marketing, it’s too expensive. And costs are going up!  The only way to avoid marketing costs is to stop your outreach programs… or get someone else to pay the bill. A big difference between Multimedia Mail and rich media is that with Multimedia Mail it’s possible for advertisers to share costs. Nothing new in sharing direct mail costs.  But the ability to deliver the same interactive multimedia sold on-line, in a cost shared package is revolutionary.
Companies pay big bucks for marketing opportunities.
Non-profits have an asset; it’s their supporters, donors, students and alumnae. No matter what your mission, your supporters represent a unique demographic within a specific geographic.
Mailing smarteris to allow a small number of marketers controlled accessto your supporters in return for financial support of the mailing campaign. Never ever provide, sell, or loan your most valuable asset! Through the use of Multimedia Mail and only through the use of Multimedia Mail, you can provide safe access to your base and real marketing opportunities for the advertisers.
Non-profits should STOP begging for money to fund marketing campaigns.
Non-profits should position themselves as gate keepers to their supporters and offer advertising opportunities to corporate marketing departments. Marketing departments are where companies stash their cash and aren’t timid about spending it.  By integrating selective for-profit advertising efforts into non-profit newsletters, solicitations and marketing campaigns, it’s possible to eliminate a non-profit’s mailing cost associated with these campaigns.
As an example, an organization dedicated to helping animals would naturally have a support base that loves animals. This organization could go to four advertisers such as a pet store retailer, pet food company, medical pet supply company, and a doggy day care, and offer them collectively an opportunity to talk to the non-profit’s supporters in a quarterly newsletter. This is a key demographic for these marketers since most animal lovers have pets.
Each marketer would get an opportunity to provide the intro (an approved thirty second commercial) for one of the four interactive multimedia newsletters. All advertisers would get a menu choice leading to a page on the CD and credit for supporting the non-profit by covering all costs of the newsletter. From each advertiser’s page, supporters would be able to link to several landing pages provided by that advertiser.
Through the Internet links, marketers could offer coupons and specials only available to the organization’s supporters. Interaction between supporters and marketers would be a decision made by the supporter. The marketer would never know to whom the pieces were mailed, only the aggregate demographic / geographic information about the recipients. Potentially, donations could be made by the advertisers back to the non-profit based on sales generated from the mailing. Total cost to each of the four advertisers per newsletter would be less than 25¢ per piece mailed (based on a mailing of 100,000 pieces).
A large university could utilize multimedia mail to help fund its foundations. A university has an immense need for donations to fund various projects. They also have a wealth of pertinent information about alumnae. They know where their alumnae live (geographic data), what they majored in, clubs and associations they belonged to in college, possibly where they work, their age and family information (demographic data).
Through the use of Multimedia Mail, the university could match alumnae’s interests and a foundation’s needs with appropriate marketers. If the alumnae base was large enough, demographic groups of alumnae could be segregated geographically. Foundations without cost restrictions would be able to solicit to larger groups of alumnae more often. Mailing smarter allows more donor dollars to go for the foundations work rather than begging for more money.
But no one will play the disk!
Wynn casinos mailed 205,000 optical disks in June 2006, tracking 164,000 of those recipients playing the disk. Wynn, as reported in DMNews (July 2006), had an 80% take it out of the mailbox, take the disk out of its package, put the disk into the computer and play it rate! Ever have an 80% click rate or even an 80% open rate from a broadcast email?
Multimedia Mail is more effective and less expensive than SEM for advertisers (see related articles). The use of Multimedia Mail provides an opportunity to transfer and share solicitation costs between appropriate advertisers, thereby reducing the operating costs of the non-profit, while increasing the scope and frequency of their direct mail campaigns.
It is time for non-profits to mail smarter: mail to more people, mail more often and get someone else to (willingly) foot the bill!
Todd Butler
Butler Mailing Services, Inc.

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