Tom Kubinski
Printing Consultant
Direct: 612-278-1568
Fax: 612-334-5879
Cell: 612-760-3700
1109 Zane Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN. 55422
Phone: 612-375-1150
Fax: 612-334-5879
Toll Free: 1-800-230-2828

Branding - 22 Laws Of
Brand Warfare
Creative Coatings Techniques
Desktop Techniques
Digital / Variable Printing
Direct Mail Raise Response, Lower Costs
FSC Certification
For Direct Marketers
In House Mailing Capabilities
Ink Tour
Paper Mill Tour - Coated
Paper Mill Tour - Uncoated
Picking the Right Paper
PDF Formats
PDF Info & Quark vs. InDesign
PODi - Digital Print Success Story
Postal Increases & Requirement Changes
Post it to the Web vs. Print
Press Check Tips
PURL - Avoid Dog House Campaign
QR Codes
Save Disk Space
Social Media -- The Basics
Social Media vs. Print
Top File Issues
UV Burn
Ways to Save Money
What Sets Sexton Apart?
Why Print in a Down Market?
Why Work With TK?

September 2012 TK's Korner

Direct Mail – Raising Response, Lowering Costs



Many of you may be currently involvedin a direct mail campaign or are considering one. In either case...


Here Are The 10Most Commonly Asked Questions:

1)   IsDirect Mail the Right Medium? (Seecase studies below)

2)   9 Benefits ofDirect Mail

3)  Howcan I ensure my mail Stands out from the Rest?

4)  Whatcan I do to make the Best Impression?

5)  Whatare the Critical Elements that I should consider?

6)  Howcan I obtain the best Response Rate?

7)  Howdo I Measure the effectiveness of the program?

8)  Howimportant is my Mail List Selection or Database?

9)   Should I Personalize or Customize?

10)  Paper Selection, how critical is it?



More To Consider:

Testingis Crucial

4 P's of Direct Mail

19 Commandments of Direct Marketing           

What is MGM?(Member-Gets-Member)

What is One-to-OneMarketing?

11 uncreative (but tested)ways to make your layout work harder

Permission vs. InterruptionMarketing




In this issue of TK's Korner, I'll give youhelpful suggestions, important information along with sources, and case studiesto further research questions you may have. 



To Start, Let'sDive into Direct Mail:


Direct Mail deals with building andmaintaining one-to-one relationships between brands and customers, with thepurpose of establishing an image for the brand and selling products tocustomers.



Why Direct Mail?

Interactivity A 2-way communication (push/pullstrategy)

Consumers are willing to take on at leasttwice as much direct mail messages as any other medium. It might be that theyfind it obtrusive when contacted by telephone or email, on the other hand, theycan sit and review when convenient for them.

Acquisition The ability to attractnew customers

Retention "Direct Mail left a deeper footprint in the brain...
In other words, media that consumers can touch and feel resonated and touchedmore emotions than those of the digital variety." Accordingto Direct Mail; Alive and Kicking of Market Share Advertising Marketing &Media.


CRM(Customer Relationship Management)

ROC (Return on Customer)
LTV (Life Time Value)


Direct mail is important inbuilding a relationship and engaging your ambassadors properly.


Sense of Ownership
By adding thecustomers name and pertinent information to the piece, it gives them a sense ofownership in the brand.



While the brand perception should be identical, theobjectives per target group will be differentiated, and therefore also theinvestment level, media, messaging and offer. Consumers can expect offers and messaging to become morecomprehensive and over a period of time each receives a variety of direct mailcommunications about their particular objectives, offer and messaging?

Using Integrated Marketing or Multiple Channels and touch points, you can alsokeep them interested. Synchronizing campaigns, utilizing Ôif this, then thatoccurs' etc.


Media is Complementary instead ofreplacing one another. 

ie. Offlinedirect mail drives web traffic.


Yet,overcrowded email queues only adds to the appeal- even though direct mail seems old school, it'svery sexy for the marketer. The reason being - less cluttered and moreeffective impressions.


Advertisersand consumers prefer a tangible object, something that can be held or touched. People prefer paper to something that exists onlyelectronically. How many of us readan entire document on the computer screen?


"Mailis essential to the multichannel mix. Many believe mail is uniquely positionedto play a major role in a National economical resurgence in 2012" Modern Mail quote.


Next...Follow-Upis Key
To direct marketing activities and therefore direct mail.

A mailing invites customer to react and informs them of your intentions.


>>If this, then that can follow:
If no response, then an e-mail or another mailing, either static orpersonalized.

>>If response, then-
Another mailing follows their reaction.

All of these steps aremeasured and can guide future action.

By tracking the results,you can easily calculate the cost per response, inquiry or sale.

This measurability is amajor advantage for marketing compared to other communication tools.


Using Alerts in Real Time of when a site has been visited, andwhat responses have been given, gives the ability to follow up in a timelymanner. This is critical for marketing managers, as well as sales reps andothers to gather info quickly and accurately and respond as needed.


Utilizing Dashboard Technology-data being generated, gathered andformulated into track able, measurable and informative formats in real time.Each opportunity, what products or services they are interested in, as well asgiving you the ability to monitor your sales teams efforts, follow-up and sales.Integration of online tools is inclined to make your direct mail stronger thanever.


Developments inInformation Technology
Providing direct mail professionals with a wealth of possibilities and propellingthe use of direct mail/direct marketing:

Increasedcomputer processing power

Availabilityof customer addresses

Softwareto help identify and select the right customers

Abilityto digitally print variable personalized data

Expandingnumber of mass media options

The Power of Direct Mail

Address every customer as one person vs. the mass media "One size Fitsall". Customers appreciate direct mail whenit's relevant, respectful and rewarding to them.


Closing Rates by Sellingto People you Know is easier -

NewCustomer = 5-20% closing rate

RepeatSale to Lapsed Customer = 20-40%closing rate

RepeatSale to Existing Client = 60-70%closing rate


Closely related to customer satisfaction, companies need to be better at anticipatingconsumer questions and complaints.


Response Rates ofDirect Mail depend on:

Integrity of List - Are you marketing to your target audience, and has the list been run through an address updating software?


Profiling - How to quickly and accurately profile clients thatcan dramatically improve response rates.


When client or prospects responds to surveys, PURL, QR codes, offer etc. through a direct link to a micro site-landing page of some sort, itgives you a demographic breakdown about who used the promotional item, which offer theyused, plus the response spend rates and each individuals demographics.


Timing - What's going on with world events, business cycles,marketing cycles, sales cycles, etc?


Offer - Is it something ofvalue or interest to your target audience?


Incentive - Is it worthwhile tothem?  Will it make them act?


Call To Action - Are you telling them what you want them to do, when you want them to doit by, and how you want them to do it?


CreativeExecution - Design, copy, layout, vehicle, etc?


Odd Shapes - Havebeen found to give higher customer satisfaction via non-traditional, die cut mailers. Some claim that shaped mail can increase response rates over regular direct mail by at least 2 to 3 times. ie. basketballs, buses, beer mugs, movie tickets, guitars, etc. New Postal regulations that allow for custom shaped mail in sizes as large as 2x15 to be delivered to mailboxes without envelopes.


Who Responds toDirect Mail? (in descending order)

1. Customers - 3 to 8 times morelikely to respond or buy
2. Responders - have not yet made a purchase
3. Former Customers

4. Referrals
5. Other type of product or service purchased
6. Similar product or service purchased from competitors


There are a variety of opinionson what makes up a successful direct mail
Listed below is one of them.


50-20-20-10 Probability ofSuccess:


After consumer reads content, wewant them to -
Act, Get Involved or Stimulate them to...

Respondby deadline

Early-birdprice advantages

Limitedtime offers




It is predicted that .046% is theaverage response rate for a general broadcast black and white static piece.


How to Increase Response:


Mail specifically addressed to a consumer with an impactfulmessage about a product or service that has a specific benefit to them is morelikely to be picked up and read. It's about "Smart Messaging, Personalizationand Relevance!"


Mailleads the way in moving towards more targeted, personalized and tailoredrelationship building. We can do it better now then ever before with thetechnology that is available.


DirectMail should definitely remain in your multichannel mix. It's the oneadvertising medium that you really can control; brand build, track, measure anddata mine.

Screen shot 2010-08-17 at 3.48.59 PM.png


NOTE: +600% (this equates up to 16% total). Full variable data,personalization, customization, database segmentation. ie. specific targets,smaller quantity, more opportunities to respond. 


Versioning -

Versioning - different groups receive different versions based on criteria, content and language changes for specific audiences. Typically black copy file.

Hybrid - Offset printing plus variable copy.

Customization - Altering each document to meet requirements of a certain group. Guidance based on a certain criteria. One to four color images change, plus copy.


NOTE: It isnot the quantity that is sent out, but the number of responses you get backthat matters.


Variable Data Results -

Screen shot 2010-08-17 at 3.53.21 PM.png


NOTE: when BRC is"pre-completed" with recipients name and address, the return rate increases 13%!


Projection on how to lowercost per response by using VDP personalization


Projection on cost per saleand ROI using VDP personalization

The Database is the MostImportant Lever:

Must be clean

Must be well defined

Limited target group, datamined and clearly detailed

Will outscore an illdefined, broad targeted group

Drayton Bird'sdirect marketing expert estimates a good database
might imply:

>6x's higher response rate with good database

>2x's higher response rate with good offer

>2x's higher response rate if the timing is right

>1.25x's higher response rate with good creative

>1.2x's higher response rate with response possibilities


NOTE: 18% ofAmericans relocate annually,

and 2% of your list movesmonthly


Mail List Hygiene:


      Zip code sort

      Address standardization

      Delivery sequence file

      Delivery points for barcoding, specific delivery points


Direct mail, today, has become an extension ofbrand experience via advertising and packaging.  The image expressedthrough direct mail is consistent and coherent with other means ofcommunication.  It adds up to overall brand feeling.




* You must be testing allthe time

* 3-5% of budget should betowards testing

* Never send out anon-tested package

* Always test outside ofpackage, envelope, etc

* Must be engaging,seductive, motivating

* Hang offer on outside,lead to inside or other side

* ÔWould you like ____',then ÔLook inside for more', etc

* Visual supports copy,copy is part of offer

* How do I make youbelieve I'm sincere, honest, etc.


Click here for more info


Wow, that's a lot of info.  Whereto start?


First, you must understand and know your TargetMarketin order to create and design an offer that gets noticed or acted upon. Who andwhat is your target market as it pertains to:

*    Gender

*    Age

*    Income

*    Location

*    Hobbies

*    Industry

*    Buyingobjectives

*    Likesand dislikes

*    Lifebuying history

*    Etc.


The more specific your target, the better theuse of your marketing dollars, and hopefully the bigger ROI will be. A maillist company can assist you in obtaining this data.

Ifyou need some sources, please giveme a call at 612-278-1568. 


More information for testing and yourcompetition:


Answer the following inorder to compete:

?     Who are they

?     What are they offering

?     Who are they trying toreach

?     How are they reachingtheir targets

?     How often are theycontacting them

?     How will their offercompete with yours

?     What ideas can you useand improve on


Your Product / Offer -

?      What are you selling oroffering

?      What is special aboutyour product

?     What makes your offerstand out from the rest
ie. capabilities, benefits, design, etc.

?      What will it do for yourtarget market, (write out in short, focused sentences on the benefits andcomparisons.)


Onceyou've clearly defined your target audience, understand their demographics andpsychographics, done research on your competition and clearly defined your offer,now you're ready to create something that stands out from the rest.


Copy and Design -
Developa design profile that can serve as a guide. Match the sense of style to those ofyour target audience and specific image of your company.

Keep in mind that you'll want to cover it in a less-is-more approach by
telling them:

> Who you are

> What you do

> Who you cater to

> What can you do for them

> Where you're located


Call to Action -
State your offer in every element of your package, define what you want them todo and
repeat your call to action severaltimes.


Makeit Easy for them to Respond -
If you want to sell them something, make iteasy to order. 
If you want them to go to a specific pageon your web site, make it easy for them to click and go there. (Also include how they can reach you, with your current company contact info).


Images -
Make them Big, Colorful, Eye Catching andDifferent in some manner.

The use of Techniques likespot coatings, foils, etc to highlight specific

Blackand White Images can be used along with 4 Color to show positive/negative situation in B/W.

Sinceit is going through the mail, Coatings to protect the piece is highly recommended.



I hope this issue has been helpful in lettingyou know more about Direct Mail, whatyou can do to make the best impression, how you can ensure your mail stands outfrom the rest and what critical elements you should consider.


If you would like more information foryour next printed project, to see some of the really cool samples I have orregarding this article, please give me a call @ 612-278-1568.


You may also find of interest thefollowing links with further information:



Case Studies








Tools Folding Options, Binding Options, and Envelope Options

For more information to demonstrate multichannel approach, visit the 3 following sites:

Stay tuned for the next issue of TK's Korner. You just might be surprised!

Please refer back and visit often the entire library of TK's Korners where you will find information on subjects that may be of interest to you like:

Branding - 22 Laws Of
Brand Warfare
Creative Coatings Techniques
Digital / Variable Printing
For Direct Marketers
In House Mailing Capabilities
PODi - Digital Print Success Story
Post it to the Web vs. Print
PURL - Avoid Dog House Campaign
QR Codes
Social Media vs. Print
Why Print in a Down Market?
Why Work With TK?


Hope this helps and stay tuned for the next issue of TK's Korner. You never know what might be covered!

If you have a production issue not discussed above that you would like me to address, or a project that needs to be looked at, please give me a call or send me an email. I will do whatever it takes to ensure you get the best value for every marketing dollar invested.

You can also check out my profile, join my network and view more client comments on LinkedIn at:

Referrals are greatly appreciated, if you know someone I could help, or who might like to receive TK's Korner, please let me know.

Take care and have a great day!

Tom Kubinski, Printing Consultant

Printing Consultant Who Helps You Make Good Impressions
Direct: 612-278-1568
Cell: 612-760-3700

Selected portions reprinted in Print & Media Buyer, a national magazine for the print industry. (Search for Tom Kubinski)

Print & Media Buyer Magazine, Winter issue 2007

Below, please find a PODi case study of nationally recognized campaign plus 3 issues that have been published in a National magazine.

* PODi - Digital Print Success Story .pdf 2.9 mb
* Kubinski to Contribute to Print and Media Buyer Magazine .pdf 144 kb
* "Press Check/A Step by Step Process" SPRING 2008 .pdf 536 kb
* "File Prep" APRIL 2008 .pdf 704 kb
* "How to Plan Your Print Project/Nice Price" JULY 2008 .pdf 320 kb

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