Talon Mailing & Marketing

561 Acorn Street
Deer Park, NY 11729

(631) 667-5500


Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing January 2012 Newsletter.

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Direct Mail Adds Up

By Denny Hatch

For a decade, e-commerce captured the imagination of marketers and eclipsed old-fashioned direct mail. After all, email is cheap; it's quick; it's easy.  It also is wildly undisciplined and a monumental pain in the neck.

Two years ago, "Direct Mail Doomed, Long Live Email" was the headline of an ONLINE Media Daily post. The media research firm Borrell Associates of Williamsburg, Va., crunched some numbers and decreed that direct mail is deader than Kelsey's nuts.

In October, the U.S. Postal Service—which is in woeful shape—announced that while the volume of First Class mail was off 7 percent, direct mail was up 3 percent and the agency is determined to make direct mail so attractive to marketers that this traditional medium may well be the salvation of the USPS.

As readers know, my wife Peggy and I made our bones in direct mail—starting to collect the stuff in the early 1980s and launching the WHO'S MAILING WHAT! newsletter and archive service in 1984.

For a decade, e-commerce captured the imagination of marketers and eclipsed old-fashioned direct mail. After all, email is cheap; it's quick; it's easy.

It also is wildly undisciplined and a monumental pain in the neck. For example, on Oct. 11, my Yahoo inbox contained 16 emails from Flirty-, Saucy-, Naughty- and Juicy Dating. During the day, another 15 came in. I receive more than 100 efforts from these creeps every week, plus well over 1,000 additional efforts that are untargeted, sloppily written and miserably designed.

Why am I inundated with this crap?

It costs little to nothing to send out email. Last May, a study revealed that a spammer had to send out 12.5 million messages to sell $100 worth of Viagra.

A mailing of 12.5 million pieces would cost $87,500!

For someone whose DNA is hard-wired to respect the discipline—and above all the arithmetic—of traditional advertising, I face my Yahoo inbox with dread. I love my postman. Happily, I am not alone.

Here's a fascinating statistic: An Epsilon/ICOM survey last year revealed that the 18-34 age group prefer print advertising—direct mail and newspapers—to e-commerce for many products and services, and by margins of two to three times.

They are tired and distrustful of the continual invasion of their privacy and avalanche of useless messages perpetrated by greedy online snoops and spammers from around the world.

One Huge Advantage of Direct Mail: Secrecy
Direct mail is the not-so-secret weapon for direct mail testing. Make a wee drop of 20,000 pieces in Tucson and another 20,000 in rural North Carolina and only two people will know what you are up to—yourself and the U.S. Postal Service.

If the test works, step up 10 times to 400,000 mailing packages around the country and potential thieves and competitors still won't catch on. If the second test confirms the results of the first test, go for 4 million. A couple of pieces might fall into the hands of a competitor, but at that point you are way ahead of the guy. If the 4 million-piece drop reconfirms the initial results, shoot the moon and leave the potential copycats eating your dust.

However, take caution:

1. Direct mail is expensive. The takeaway here: only deal with knowledgeable, experienced direct mail professionals.

2. Arithmetic is the end-all and be-all of direct mail. At $700 per thousand, or 70¢ a pop, it doesn't take many mail pieces sent to the wrong people or with the wrong offer before money starts cascading through the floorboards and you lose big time.  

Consider the above chart: If you spend $7,000 to test 10,000 pieces, you need 175 orders, or a 1.75 percent response, to break even.($7,000 / $40 = 175 orders). Note: Profit is considered a cost.

In short, know your arithmetic or stay out of direct mail.

Denny Hatch is a freelance direct marketing consultant and copywriter, and author of the Business Common Sense e-newsletter. Visit him at www.businesscommonsense.com or www.dennyhatch.com, or contact him via email at dennyhatch@yahoo.com.

Impress Your Customers Using Postcards

by Kaye Z. Marks

Personalized postcards will show your customers and prospects that you invest effort and consideration in the relationship.

In business, the importance of marketing cannot be underestimated. If you want to stay on top of the game, you need to promote your business. The market, after all, is highly competitive these days.

Surviving the competition often takes the simple task of marketing. It is often no longer enough to simply rely on word of mouth marketing to get your business known in the market. You need to create compelling marketing materials to keep your customers interested in what you have to offer.

A marketing campaign can be as simple as tapping into a network of people or asking people to help you. It is important to remember that the more you get in contact with people, the more chance you have of growing your relationship with them. But before you launch into an extensive marketing campaign, it is important to choose carefully the materials you would use. There are actually plenty of materials to choose from. You have brochures, posters, catalogs, flyers, greeting cards, and postcard printing. You can use one or a combination of these materials.

Among these marketing materials, though, you might want to include postcards in your marketing plan. When done right, postcards will give your customers the feeling that you value your relationship with them. A personalized postcard would especially make them feel you invest effort and consideration in the relationship. In the highly competitive market of today, building trust and good relationship with your customers is the best way to getting on top of the game.

A postcard can be sent for different reasons. This can include:

As a reminder for a special event, upcoming meeting, or as a thank you card. Instead of sending greeting cards, why not send your customers a post card to greet them or thank them for their continued support. Post cards are also a great way of reminding them of an upcoming special event or meeting.

To attract new customers. Designed creatively, it can be a powerful tool to draw in customers. Just make sure to use graphics and texts that are easy to read. Keep in mind that your goal is to get your messaged delivered clearly to your target customers. So, be careful with your postcard design.

Boost current customer relationships. Most of the time, it is more cost effective to maintain current customers than get new ones. Experts say that most of the time the 20% you maintain as loyal customers account for 80% of your sales. So, consider sending them postcards from time to time to let them know you remember them. This will surely help strengthen your relationship with them. Who knows they might refer you to others if they are continuously satisfied of your products or services.

Show appreciation. Aside from greeting cards, they can also be a good way to show your appreciation to your valued customers. A simple note in the card can go a long way towards boosting your relationship with them.

It is important though to carefully choose the postcard templates appropriate for your business and your intention. A poorly designed card will only discourage or offend your customers. So, from the background to the color choice and font style to use, meticulously design your postcard. Remember that you only have one chance to get your customers attention. So, make all your effort count.

About the Author:
Kaye Z. Marks is an avid writer and follower of the developments in postcard templates and postcard printing industry that help businesses in their marketing and advertising campaigns.

Direct Mail Tips: Getting More Out of Your Postal Budget
By Kurt Ruppel

Savvy direct marketers know a successful direct mail strategy isn't focused solely on reducing postage costs—you must also improve deliverability and increase response.

Here's some ideas on how to maximize the value of your postal budget.

Use the appropriate mail class
Mail class is one of the primary drivers of postage cost. Most marketers use either Standard Mail or First-Class Mail to distribute their marketing messages.

First-Class, the U.S. Postal Service's flagship product, promises priority in the processing network, faster delivery, and a suite of ancillary services (such as forwarding or return to sender) built into the base price. But this higher level of service is reflected in the cost.

Standard Mail is a lower priority in the processing network, and the delivery cycle is longer. Ancillary services are available on an "a la carte" basis. Due to these differences, the base cost for Standard Mail is about 70% the cost of First-Class. In addition, Standard Mail offers more opportunities for work sharing discounts, such as Destination Entry.

Marketers need to consider whether they need, or will use, the additional services offered through First-Class or whether they can plan a production schedule to accommodate Standard Mail delivery to take advantage of the savings opportunities. (Keep in mind that some communications, such as bills or statements of account, are required to be mailed First-Class.)

Watch size and weight of the mail piece
The other primary drivers of postage cost are the size and weight of the mail piece. Mail larger than 6-⅛"x 11-½" or thicker than ¼" must be mailed at Flats rates, which can be up to 50% higher than the corresponding rate for a Letter-size piece. Also, Standard Mail over 3.3 ounces or First-Class Mail of one ounce or more incurs additional postage.

Marketers should work closely with their service providers to ensure their mail pieces don't unintentionally cross one of these thresholds. Flat-sized or heavier mail pieces may drive higher response, thereby offsetting the higher postage costs. But savvy marketers typically test into a larger mail piece to ensure the response rate justifies the higher cost.

Use high-quality addresses
No matter what cost-saving strategies are employed, marketers get no value from mailings that don't reach their intended recipients. Be sure your service providers are using all the available tools to make certain the addresses in your mailing lists are complete, correct and current.

There are tools available from the Postal Service, such as CASS-certified address processing, that confirm your addresses have all required elements, all elements are correct and the address actually exists. Another tool is NCOALink, which ensures that you are keeping up with the more than 40 million Americans who change their addresses each year.

In addition to USPS tools, there are a number of proprietary databases that capture moves not reported to the Postal Service.

Take advantage of all available discounts
The Postal Service offers a variety of "work sharing" discounts for mailers who do more to prepare and transport their mail, assuming some of the workload that would otherwise be borne by the Postal Service.

* Presort discounts are given for grouping mail together into bundles or trays for more efficient processing.

* Automation discounts are earned for mail pieces with suitable barcodes that meet the physical parameters to be handled by USPS sorting equipment.

* Participants in the Intelligent Mail Full Service option gain discounts for using unique Intelligent Mail barcodes on mail pieces, handling units and containers; providing electronic documentation and statements, and making appointments for all destination-entered mail using the USPS's on-line scheduling tool, FAST.

* Destination Entry discounts recognized cost savings by the Postal Service when mail is entered at processing facilities near its final destination.

Kurt Ruppel is marketing services manager at IWCO Direct.

  Ticket Giveaway!   

Talon has great seats for you to win.

We are giving away a pair of tickets to see the New York Islanders!  To win, be the first telephone caller (please don’t hit reply or email). Voice mail messages count so it's fine to leave a voice mail.   Call Michael Borkan at 631-667-5500 x 11. 

  • Thursday January 12th, 7:00PM.  Islanders vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Do you know of anyone else who would be interested in receiving our newsletter?  Please let us know by email:  mb@talon-mailing.com

To learn more about our company, please visit our Web site: www.talon.com or contact Michael Borkan at (631) 667-5500 x 11.

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In this Issue:

Direct Mail Adds Up

Impress Your Customers Using Postcards

Direct Mail Tips: Getting More Out of Your Postal Budget

Ticket Giveaway!

New Clients

Mike Borkan's Links - Web sites you probably haven't seen

View Samples of Our Work

Newsletter Archives

Direct Mail Humor!

New Clients:

Talon welcomes the following new clients this month to our growing roster of customers:
  • D.P. Murphy

  • The Ad Division

  • Port Jefferson Country Club

  • 2 New Lists from Statlistics

Mike's Favorite Links:

Some interesting links...

Hellobar.com - A free web tool to help drive more attention to your important website content.

Awayfind.com - Checking email every 5 minutes? This service allows you to get away from your inbox and let urgent emails cut through the clutter and FIND you...instantly.

Wakerupper.com - Schedule a free Telephone reminder. Great for wake up calls or important reminders.

Imcreator.com - Design your website with a free, simple & elegant website builder.

Bookboon.com - Download free ebooks for students and travelers in PDF format. All the books can be downloaded without registration.

TopForty.it - The 40 hottest songs each day from the Twittersphere.

Work Samples:

Did you know Talon offers the following services? 

Click on the links below to see samples.

Newsletter Archives:

Click here if you wish to see past newsletters. 

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