Until Next Year!

The Copy Grove's Directions blog will feature new posts beginning January 1, 2009. 
Until then, leaving you with this quote ...

Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in awhile, or the light won't come in. 

~Alan Alda


Selling Life Insurance in Tough Economic Times

Here's how The Prudential Insurance Company of America is promoting their coverage this holiday season in a recent USA Today space ad. 

This is a branding ad, with a soft call to action that's nearly invisible at the bottom of the ad. (It's buried in the last paragraph of body copy and directs the reader to Prudential's web site.) The photo is obviously supposed to pull at the heart strings for an emotional appeal. Warm and fuzzy, yeah. Effective? Mmmm ... not so sure this is going to lead to thousands of hits on the Prudential web site. And what makes this ad really NOT direct marketing at all is the lack of a code or unique url to tie a web hit directly back to the ad and measure its effectiveness.

The fact is, people are hearing so much bad news about the economy and looking for ways to cut back on everything from cell phone bills to holiday gifts that buying life insurance might be the last thing on their mind. Insurance is never an easy sell at any time of the year. It's an intangible product, often bought out of fear - versus an impulse buy or a highly desirable commodity. It's something you either have to have (ie: auto insurance) or know you need (ie: health or life insurance) but hope you don't really have to use. 

Some insurance marketers may argue - and in in my opinion, rightly so - that insurance is even MORE important to have when times are tough. After all, it can provide big dollar protection for a small monthly outlay. This Prudential ad tries to do that. But a harder edge and stronger call to action might be more effective - especially in these tough economic times.


Old School Classic: DRTV Life Insurance Spot

When it comes to old school Direct Response TV, here's a classic ...

Click on the link highlighted below (the photo to the left is just a screen shot) to view an oldie but a goodie featuring Ed McMahon for Colonial Penn Life Insurance Company. He's standing outside of a house, by the mailbox. Very gritty - and there's a hokey visual effect in the beginning of the spot - but some "still effective" DR techniques being used here. Learn from the past! (One bad thing they did in this spot - they didn't hold the toll-free number for the duration of the spot, something we usually try to do in DRTV nowadays, especially when the target audience is the age 65 and over market. The toll-free number is only up for a brief period of time in the opening.)


The Art Linklover Show

Bloggers Say The Darnedest Things ...
"I’m surprised the marketing world has not adopted current truth as its mantra. Heck, I’m aghast that no marketing group has yet hijacked the concept outright. As I write this article currenttruth.com is available for the taking." - About the popular phrase "The Current Truth" on Before & After, Creative Thinking In Business.
"A Promise is an Infomercial. Dear Students, A good ad tells truth. It is concerned with a fact. (it doesn't have to be an informational fact. observations can be the truth) A bad ad promises." - From a teacher of a graduate program in advertising, not so good with punctuation it seems ... Mark Fenske.


In My Mailbox: Fundraising DM Done Right

This is supposed to be the season of giving, and when it comes to direct mail success for fundraisers, this package (shown above) from Carson Valley Children's Aid has a lot going for it to make givers give, despite the current brrrrrrrr climate of government bailouts and a dwindling Dow.

From the get ...

(1) It immediately acknowledges that the recipient 
previously gave a gift.
- AND -
(2) it creates a sense of urgent need.

The outside envelope of the Carson Valley Children's Aid package immediately acknowledges the fact that I am a previous giver with the line, "Please help us again this year." This reaffirms the affinity between the recipient and the organization. Remember, your best prospects are your previous supporters.

The line above that says, "A tough economy is even harder on our children" - helping establish a sense of urgency and the need to act again, NOW.

So I open the envelope. Then ...

(3) It shows how my gift benefits the children 
with a concrete example.

A two-panel, 3-color insert in the package tells the story of a boy named Dakota, one of the organization's "Rapid Service Response Success Stories."  It goes on to describe the Rapid Services Response program, which is designed to prevent placement of children into the child welfare system by increasing parents' and caregivers' abilities to provide safe, nurturing home environments. 

Additionally, a 14" sheet titled Annual Report and Donor Recognition is nested behind the letter/reply form and compares 2006-07 revenues to expenses, as well as the number of families and children served in 2007-08, which crystalizes the organization's need for continued support into the new year. 

So I blog about it ... and pull out my checkbook.

The Carson Valley Children's Aid package was created by a varied team of direct marketing professionals, including Topak Marketing, Inc.'s Linda Brignola-Braverman, Jim Shire of Pyramid Graphics and TTMS' Jim Capanna.



Statement Stuffer of The Week: Wachovia Gift Card Tied To Charity

Wachovia is promoting its gift cards pre-holiday via statement stuffers. The cards cost $3.95 each - $1.95 if you buy 20 or more (you save $2); the upside of the fee is that $1 of it (up to $250,000.00 maximum donation) goes straight to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, helping disadvantaged children. The built-in charity donation is a great way to lessen the brunt of the card's issuance fee, an added cost - and now feature/benefit - which most gift cards don't carry. Good idea for business gifts though, if you're still looking for ideas. Interested? Click here.

Statement stuffers are often used by banks and credit card companies to cross-sell or up-sell products and services to existing customers. They can also be used effectively in membership renewal notices for upgrades and cross-sell opportunities. A statement stuffer can be buckslip sized, like this one shown for Wachovia, and if the "call to action" is just a phone number, url or a "visit your local branch office," that's a perfect size. Or they can fold and have a BRC or "make your own" BRE (formed by moistening a glue strip).

Why send just a bill when you can send a statement stuffer, too, and try to get another sale from one of your best prospects, your existing customers?

Thanks for stopping by