Going (Less) Wild
Says Becky Zahrly, director of membership and annual giving at the L.A. Zoo: “Boy, as soon as we started honing in on the children’s lists — which seemed kind of obvious — our results really came up.”
Testing the waters
Having zeroed in on the
target market, Schultz & Williams developed several different test packages — two-color, four-color, larger pieces, some with brochures, some with traditional inserts, some focusing exclusively on big openings and events at the zoo, and some linked to seasons — and tested them through the spring
and into fall 2003.
The results were surprising, says Zahrly, who thought for sure that a 6-inch-by-9-inch, four-color test mailing with a photo of a tiger on the outer did a great job capturing the L.A. Zoo’s beauty.
But it was a very basic, value-oriented, two-color, No. 10 mailing with the teaser, “Join The L.A. Zoo Now and SAVE! With this special Limited-time offer,” and a simple illustration of a giraffe that beat the prior control and two other tests. This winning effort rolled out in 2003.
Called the “value package,” it emphasizes the value of a family membership that, for a family of four, pays for itself on the second visit to the zoo. The No. 10 giraffe mailing includes an 8.5-inch-by-13.75-inch form with a perf-off reply at the top and letter at the bottom; an 8.5-inch-by-11-inch member-benefits insert; a 3.5-inch-by-8.5-inch, four-color buckslip promoting the plush zoo animal premium; a 4-inch-by-7.5-inch driving-directions insert; a 3.5-inch-by-8.5-inch, double-sided lift note listing more members-only benefits; and a BRE with an illustration of a koala bear with, “THANKS for your support!” written below. The control it beat used similar elements — an 8.5-inch-by-14-inch letter/reply, an 8.5-inch-by-11-inch benefits insert, a map with driving directions, a smaller insert and a BRE.
In addition to pulling better response, the two-color mailing is cheaper to mail, largely because of its economical use of space and the decision to swap out the pre-paid, No. 9 return envelope it had been using with an unstamped BRE.