In a world of increasingly complex marketing tactics, the classic paper coupon is alive and well.
America’s mailboxes continue to be stuffed with coupons for both national and local campaigns, and consumers continue to redeem them.
I recently asked Money Mailer CEO John Patinella to let us know what his franchise organization has been doing to help clients get results from one of marketing’s oldest tools.
Paul Talbot: The classic hierarchy of the three most critical direct marketing ingredients is list, offer and creative. How do you address the list aspect of this?
John Patinella: We’re incredibly strategic when it comes to developing each list for our mailings. Offers and creative content are also tailored based on specific mailing lists – they all need to work together to achieve optimal results.
Talbot: What criteria are used to determine which clusters within a zip code you’ll mail to?
Patinella: Money Mailer’s individual zones of 10,000 households determine which households are mailed and which are not. Typically, a zone contains about 15,000 homes, but when you filter down through the factors I shared above, like age for example, we end up only mailing to around 10,000 homes per mailing.
Talbot: How do response rates differ by age demographic? The perception that younger skewing households are more receptive to online than offline offers… is this borne out by data?
Patinella: There’s a common misconception that direct mail coupons are used primarily for in-person or in-store promotions, when in fact many of our most popular advertisers are sending direct mail coupons for online shopping.
Consumers have been very receptive. According to a recent 2018 recent study, 87% of millennials, 91% of Generation X and 96% of Baby boomers use paper coupons. 87% is a pretty significant statistic to consider when you think about whether or not millennials will use paper coupons from the mail.
Talbot: Which retail business category has been delivering you the strongest growth, and which has been in the steepest decline?
Patinella: The category that has been delivering the strongest growth has been our online retail advertisers. With the increase in consumers’ ability to shop for their favorite things online, we are seeing an increase in the number of online retailers, especially around the holidays. The retail category group as a whole is in decline as consumer behavior shifts more toward an online purchasing experience.
Talbot: In states where recreational cannabis sales are legal, will you accept cannabis dispensary advertising?
Patinella: Money Mailer is selective in the categories of business that are in our envelopes.
We want to make sure the mailings we send are well-received, and because we send our mailings in mass, we try to cater to every consumer. With the bulk of our households being families, we want to make sure the content is appropriate no matter who picks up and opens that envelope – kids get curious!
That being said, we also realize that new industries are cropping up all the time and as a result, we have to decide whether they fit the mold of our family-friendly driven content.
With the increase in manufacturing of CBD products across the country and an increase in desire for these products by our consumers, we have recently decided to accept ads from CBD organizations, with very specific guidelines.
Talbot: How do you address competitive separation and exclusivity?
Patinella: Exclusivity is tough as it truly limits our ability to sell ad space in our envelope. One of the main reasons why we tend to stay away from offering exclusivity, is because we aim to produce an envelope that contains a specific percentage of ads by category a.k.a. ‘the perfect envelope.’
Instead of separating competing brands, we cycle in advertisers appropriately so that everyone is offered an equal opportunity to be supported by the consumer without having to worry about competing for space within an envelope.
Talbot: How do you protect the perceived value of the complete package from marketers who want to mail coupons with weak or unappealing offers? Will you turn down weak offers?
Patinella: Having great offers is so important that we take the time to coach our franchisees and sales reps on how to accept and, in some cases, decline offers on an ongoing basis.