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     "Huh? What?? How did I get this thing in the mail? It looks like someone was doodling. But itís about retirement planning. Let me see what it says. Oh!, the poor guy canít retire. No wonder his smile-face is crying. Iíd feel like that, too, if I was in such a pickle!

     Hey! Look at his figures! Heís got more money than I do, but heís still in trouble? What does that mean for me? I better open this and find out what the heck itís about!"

     Marketing & Publishing Associates, a financial newsletter publisher, had a problem. Our winning formula was fatiguing. So we started testing.

     This unusual test envelope, which played on fear and greed, was wrapped around our control for a $995 options investing newsletter.

  • It tied the control on front-end break-even.

  • But it produced more orders.

  • How could it tie on break-even but produce more orders? Hereís the answer.

  • Most orders from this package were for credit-card billingĎtil forbid. The subscriber pays for 3 months up-front, instead of a full year.

  • These orders have lower front-end value, but much higher lifetime value.

  • And unlike the full-payment-with-order responses the control brought in, we didnít have to fight like hell for renewals after one year. We just billed their credit cards every quarter unless they cancelled.

     Notice something very interesting here. The control and the test package were identical except for the outer envelope. They both had the exact same offers. But they got very different types of responses.

     This suggests that each envelope appeals to a different market segment. The controlís market segment pays in full, most often by check. The testís market segment prefers continuing partial payment by credit card.

     Wouldnít it make sense to alternate the controls so you can use the same basic package to appeal to two different market segments? We thought so!

     In addition, to broadening your appeal, a successful new outer envelope combats package fatigue and universe saturation. Recipients donít recognize it, especially if you change your style dramatically, as we did.

     And hereís the best part! The cost of an envelope test is peanuts! Creative for a test envelope is a fraction of the cost of a complete new package. If you use the same ink colors and paper stock, you can tag it onto the end of your control envelopeís press run. Youíll pay about $300 for a press wash-up and get the same low per-unit cost you pay for your control.

     But at Marketing & Publishing Associates, we got more than a low-cost test. We found a new winning formula. Talk about a bargain!

     This envelope won the Gold Award -- Best of Show at the 1997 Jillies.

     Now letís move on to our next example of pushing the envelope.


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