Package Insert Programs
More and more catalogers are finding that package insert programs (PIPs) are good ways to generate ancillary income. After all, you’re going to ship the customer a package anyway, and as long as the package weight remains the same, why not drop in a few complementary offers from other merchants? To be successful, however, the offers you select have to align well with your brand.
Two catalogers who accept package inserts shared their experiences and insights with Donna Loyle, editor in chief of Catalog Success.
Jeffrey Nissim, president, Musical Heritage Society, Oakhurst, NJ
What they sell: CDs of jazz and classical music, DVDs, and music-related merchandise sold from three catalog titles
Number of packages mailed annually: 672,000 (about 56,000 per month)
Catalog Success: From what type of companies do you accept package inserts?
Nissim: It’s easier to tell you what we don’t accept and that’s competitive offers or offers for products that are inappropriate for our customers. We’re pretty open minded, but occasionally we get samples for inappropriate offers. In general our audience likes books, history, culture, the arts and wine.
We look at every insert sample before we accept them. We need to see a physical sample before it goes to the lettershop. We accept a maximum of four, but it’s really a weight-based decision. The last thing you want is to go over your postal weight limit with these things. Even if it’s a quarter of an ounce too heavy, your mailing costs can be out of the ballpark. So we have to be very careful about weight. As each insert gets accepted, we weigh it to see how much room in the package we have left.
CS: Have you ever rejected inserts?
Nissim: Yes. Once, we had a mailer who showed us one offer, but then changed it to a competitive offer to ours, and we didn’t discover it until after the packages had gone out. That was bad.