2013-07-Double the Response

//2013-07-Double the Response

2013-07-Double the Response




John Leonard

Using variable in a whole new way results in
huge leap in response rates


Variable colour has been on the wish list for direct marketers for a very long time, yet it has been cost-prohibitive, especially for the not-for-profit community where every penny counts. But, by using a combination of technologies coupled with composition, expertise and secure data manipulation ‘The Variable Envelope’ is the pinnacle of 1:1 variability in the hands of the recipient.

Unlike anything in the market today, this patent-pending process allows relevant creative (words, images, names, etc.) to be laid down, in full colour, on the entire front and back of the envelope (as well as the front and back of the letter/donor form). And, because this process utilizes a standard sized outer, it keeps costs manageable, thereby creating an ROI that is very successful. And, yes, the procedures Cover-All created ensure matching 100% of the time.


The second in THS’s renewal effort (Renewal #2) mailed at the beginning of March, 2013 to all of the non-responders from Renewal #1.

“Typically this effort doesn’t see stellar results as most of the ‘low hanging fruit’ is captured in Renewal #1” says Allison Taylor, President at TCP. “We did feel that this could be a great time to try something new, something to get our current and lapsed donors to sign back up without having to use a costly premium.”

John Leonard, from Cover-All (one of TCP’s most trusted suppliers), had been talking to Taylor about a new product that would allow a very high level of personalization without the high cost usually associated with this kind of package. Intrigued, TCP wanted to know more. Turned out that the cost to personalize a closed-face outer (front and back) and the letter/donor form (front and back), was just slightly over what THS/TCP had initially budgeted.

“We were able to convince the client that this high level of personalization – right up front, on the outer – would make this package hard to ignore… and we were right,” says Taylor.


The Toronto Humane Society has been collecting pet names from their donors for quite some time. In each mailing sent (including acquisitions) they’ve been asking…“Tell us what kind of pet you have: dog, cat or other; and what are their names”.

With this information TCP initially segmented the database into the following categories:

  • dog
  • cat
  • dog & cat
  • other (reptiles, gerbals, birds, etc.)

Then they overlaid records that had pet names:

  • dog with dog name
  • 2 dogs with name
  • 3 dogs with name
  • dog with no name
  • cat with cat name
  • 2 cats with name
  • 3 cats with name
  • cat with no name

“And, finally, as we wanted to chat one-on-one with our donors, we wanted to use their first name – and if a first name wasn’t available, we would default to last name,” says Taylor.

“Also, if some of the records had more than three pet names, we needed to default to “& family” to ensure our headline would fit.”

All this was also segmented by the ‘type’ of donor that THS was talking to – loyal, new, lapsed, etc.

As this was a ‘new’ process there were some bugs that had to be worked out.

“As with most variable colour products, many small items need to mesh together and by adding the complexities of joining physical production processes (that normally don’t connect) the project is a set of moving gears,” says John Leonard, VP, Sales & Marketing at Cover-All.

“The product had been in development for approximately four months and had undergone a variety of testing and samples through the different steps,” he continues. “However as is the case with any first-off endeavors there were small hurdles to overcome, such as address positioning (given the live run has no windows), having all parties understand the data requirements from an integrity (and default) and timing persepective and keeping all parties to the project timeline to meet the client’s mail date, but none were insurmountable.”


The goal for this campaign, according to Taylor, was to achieve the same response as in 2012.

“At stake for TCP was our reputation – if we highly recommend a package, a strategy, a tactic – it had better work! At stake for the client, especially with this high level of personalization was the chance that some of the data collected in the past may be outdated.”


Success! As this initiative was being measured against last years Renewal #2 – it was a resounding success. It achieved double the response, the cost to raise a dollar dropped and overall revenues increased.

“We definitely are going to utilize this process again,” says Taylor. “The thinking around the water cooler is we may want to use this technique to enhance THS’s Holiday mailing.”

For further media information please contact John Leonard 416.354.4210

By | 2018-08-22T13:53:42+00:00 July 3rd, 2013|Categories: Direct Marketing News|0 Comments
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