Inserts Are They Still Worth Your While?
By Gretchen A. Peck
Some practical, modern insert media tips for catalogers.
Postal rates went up earlier this year, and they're expected to rise again in about another year. For catalogers looking for ways to offset some of their distribution costs, the time may be right to launch an insert media program or ramp up an existing one.
"One of the main challenges for any mailer right now is that you only have so many promotional dollars to acquire new customers," says Garrison Cummings, circulation analyst for Miles Kimball, a general merchandise cataloger. "With postage rates going up, you have to look down other avenues" to generate revenue.
Debra Goldstein, senior vice president of the LH management division of Leon Henry Inc., says she's seen insert media programs take off in recent years. "A number of new mailers have been jumping into the insert media mix, especially in the health and apparel categories," she notes. Blow-in programs are increasingly popular among her catalog clients. "They're less expensive to ride with and provide a large-volume distribution in a short time frame," she says, "although the results may not be as strong as package inserts."
In weighing the pros and cons of each type of insert media, Joyce Beggs, president of Media Horizons Inc.'s catalog marketing group, notes that co-op mailings can be attractive because they're low-cost. But on the flip side, they reach a general, rather than targeted, audience. "Because of that, the rate for inserting into a co-op is much less than package inserts," she points out. "Response rates will be less, but the distribution is broader."
As for other forms of inserts, there are a growing number of catalogers welcoming bound-in inserts into their titles, as well. Rochelle Shirk, vice president of marketing for Banta Catalog Group division of printer Banta Corp., says it's a viable alternative to blowing in a piece of print — although there likely will be added finishing costs to bind-in versus blow-in.