Give Proper Care and Placement to B-to-B Inserts
As a consultant, one of the things I love to do when touring a B-to-B catalog company is to take a look at the customer order just before it gets sealed. I usually make a point of doing it during the first tour of the operation. What I find usually astounds me.
Most often, standard marketing materials — a catalog, a flyer or two, maybe a thank-you card or survey — are tossed helter-skelter in the bottom of the box, covered by the items being ordered and the void fill of choice. Imagine what happens when customers open that box presuming, of course, that there’s an adequately marked “top” and “bottom” of the box, and they can read and follow instructions. Customers take out the goods they ordered and toss the rest. They’re so eager to see their new goods that they’re not really interested in “the other paper stuff in there.”
(Don’t believe me? Test a printed, inserted offer of $10 cash to customers for just calling you directly. Tell them it’s a test to see who reads the stuff in the box. Only do 300. See what happens.)
Just think of customers’ mind-sets at the very moment they open the box. I can’t think of a better time other than when they call you to place orders to make a new sale.
Rush out to your warehouse now and make sure of the following:
1. Your marketing materials should be placed on top of the goods, in marketing predetermined sequence. I suggest hottest flyer offers on top (they have to sift through them) with your full-line catalog underneath. (Your insert catalog should be your most productive catalog.)
2. Secure your materials by void fill and make sure they won’t shift during transit. I’ve seen some smart customers wrap them in ribbon. I’d not suggest putting them in an envelope, as it makes them too easy to toss.
3. Your packing slip should be placed on top of your marketing materials.
4. If your packing slip is like many and has extra shipping labels for multi-box orders, try using them for order-dependent marketing messages. You can test slapping them on the outside of the box or leave them on the packing slip. Most packing slips are the domain of the warehouse or IT manager, not the marketers. That’s a pity.
5. In B-to-B, I suggest never putting in outside offers. The space and “presentation opportunity” is just too valuable to sell via some insert program, and clutter or confuse your own messages. B-to-C is a different game.
6. Try a small thank-you gift tied to the offers. One company I visited used a Tootsie Roll, another used a small, scented room deodorizer.
7. Code and track all your parcel insert orders to gauge your response. Given no postage costs, the results are usually astounding.
8. Assign a marketing person to track and report on parcel insert-driven sales and surveys. Your results here should top any other customer mailing activity.
Your ultimate goal is to get those inserts read and acted upon, as well as to train your customers to look for them because they contain useful information, free gifts or special deals.
Do you have superior parcel insert results? If so, I want to hear about them. E-mail me and let’s see how we can make inserts all they can be.
Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence Inc., a strategic consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that services clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at www.b2bdmi.com or (954) 566-4451.