DM Diagnosis: What’s New?
After a brainstorming session one day, the Yoda of direct-response fundraising and I were mulling over ideas the group had generated.
“You know,” Yoda said, “there really are no new offers anymore. It was easier to be brilliant before everybody started doing this. Now, you have to find a really good hook, or just the right spin, to make it seem new.”
“We’ll never see a new offer?” I challenged. “Really?”
“Well … maybe we will,” Yoda said. “But do not confuse the offer with the theme or the topic — I’m talking about the deal and what’s in it for the donor. Except for new premiums, which I do not mean, a wholly new offer does not come along often.”
So, we should celebrate the sightings of new twists and increased perceived value infused into some classic offers.
I’ve been inundated with membership cards lately. Some are part of the first renewal notice, others part of a new-member welcome package, a few I suspect are reinstatement efforts, and several are acquisition offers.
Almost none of them come with any real benefits, such as 10 percent off on gift-shop merchandise or free admittance to something. The vast majority have absolutely no utilitarian value — they’re for me to carry in my wallet to feel good about supporting a charity or cause.
The fact that my wallet would need wheels and a retractable handle should I actually desire to carry all these membership cards around with me is testament to the widespread use of the offer. Clearly, it’s working.
But, Yoda would have us ask, can it work better?
Make it harder to throw away
As many of us have seen proven in head-to-head tests, sometimes spending more on a premium pays for itself and then some in increased response. Some mailers, for example, have proved four-color address labels out-pull one-color labels, and four-color with gold or silver foil out-pull no foil. (Indeed, if what I’m seeing from Disabled American Veterans holds up, it looks like four-color labels with gold and silver foil might be the latest winning combination for that organization.)