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Direct Mail Basics

Case Study: Direct Mail vs. Email Invoices

Case Study: Direct Mail vs. Email Invoices.

AInvoicen electric utility used the Danish Post test methodology to prove that it would be paid faster and at less expense using paper invoices rather than digital invoices.

“Certainly one can’t beat the price of sending invoices by email. At least it appears that way, until one captures all the real costs of doing so.”

“When testing the letter versus email question, a Danish utility company was quite enlightened by the outcome. This Fresh Data Case Study will analyze the true costs of both options and present the quantitative results outlining which is really the most cost effective method. Possible spoiler alert, the results may surprise you.”

“The bottom line is that it cost the company $3.25 per customer to get paid by paper invoice and $5.75 per customer billed by email. That’s a difference of 42.8%.”

“Naturally, questions remain about the transferability of this experiment to other markets. For example, direct mail is pricey in Denmark. Each of those invoices cost Kr6 in postage, which is $1.06! But which way does that cut? Doesn’t it make the case even stronger in the US market where the invoice can go for under $.45, perhaps $.75 all in?”

Full article link:


The Biggest and oldest Direct Mail Collection in the World? maintains what could be the largest and oldest archives of direct mail in the entire world! Check out this video for a sneak peek in their collection…

The History of Marketing: An Exhaustive Timeline [INFOGRAPHIC]

“Ever since people have had something to sell, we’ve been marketing. But the effectiveness of those marketing methods have waxed and waned over thousands of years, and as consumers and their technologies advanced at a more and more rapid pace, marketers have had to change their game.”
“At one time, cutting edge technology was limited to just a small segment of the population – and these advancements were slowly rolled out to the masses over decades (and even centuries!). Now, adoption rates are faster than the speed of light and more widespread than ever – and it’s putting control back in the hands of consumers.”
“It’s up to marketers to keep pace in this cluttered, fast-paced world if they want their message heard. Through the lens of marketing history, watch how marketers are succeeding.”
“Take a look at how technology has changed the way marketers do their jobs, how consumers have responded (not always so favorably), and let us know where you think the future of marketing lies.”


History of Marketing Infographic

History of Marketing Infographic

6 really good reasons why you should have your list on the market

Repost from The Chapman Cubine Adams and Hussey Company Blog.
Post by: Katinka Partridge.

An active and healthy acquisition program means your house list stays ‘fit’ and is likely to be sought after by other mailers.

There are many reasons why your active donor or member file should be available for exchanges and rentals with other mailers.

Here are 6 really good reasons why you should have your list on the market:

  1. LOWER LIST COSTS: You have the ability to develop exchange relationships between your organization and the lists you are using, or plan to use, in prospecting. This cuts costs for acquisition since exchanges are far cheaper than rentals.
  2. RELATIONSHIP BUILDING THROUGH RENTALS: Making your file available for rental, in addition to exchange, allows you to maintain positive relationships with core lists, even when the exchange balance gets too high(and their available list universe too low) for you to allow additional exchanges.
  3. RENTAL INCOME: Renting your list generates extra income for your organization. We recommend keeping your fundraising rates low for your fellow nonprofits, but you can be institute more aggressive pricing for commercial entities. Rental pricing for nonprofits in general is a solid two digit number ($85 per thousand, for example). But when settling on a rate for commercial mailers, you have a bit more room to work with. Aim to never have less than three digits ($150 per thousand is a decent number).
  4. SAMPLES: These give you an upfront look into what your competitors and core continuation lists are mailing. When organizations approach you for a list rental, they have to submit a mail sample, which is a great way to get insight into their acquisition program. A sample tells you at least three things:
    • What their control or test packages look like;
    • What their potential donors respond to;
    • What they are doing or testing that you may not be.
  5. TEST IDEAS: When new mailers within your core market ask to rent your list, it opens up the door to new test ideas. Out-of-market mailers using your file continuously could be a sign that you could test into that arena. For example, if The New Yorker keeps renting your file, take a look at their file and see if they have selects available for an intelligent test.
  6. YOU HAVE CONTROL: Don’t forget—you are in control! You decide who, when and how. No mailer can use your list without your approval. You have the ability to block dates, say no to packages that look too similar to your own, and deny requests all together. The power is in your hands.
CCA&H Website –

David Ogilvy: Direct Mail Vs. General Advertising

Free List Industry White Paper

While mailing lists are the lifeblood of direct mail marketing campaigns, the data acquisition process is outmoded. 

NextMark, our favorite source for list information, commissioned research to better understand the core issues related to list acquisition and list fulfillment.

“The Evolution of List Fulfillment” is the first whitepaper of its kind, leveraging the combined experience of seasoned direct marketing professionals (list brokerage and management executives), with technological expertise (NextMark) and qualified third-party editorial (Ray Schultz).

Download your free copy (PDF format) now: The Evolution of List Fulfillment


Direct Mail vs. Social Media Marketing & Email- The Kern Organization Vi…

Stop the Press! Forward Names Surman Associate Publisher

The Forward, America’s most influential Jewish weekly newspaper and website, has appointed Barry S. Surman associate publisher.

In his position, Surman will be responsible for growing both the print and digital revenues of the Forward – including both English- and Yiddish-language newspapers and websites –  while managing and overseeing their business operations.  Prior to joining the Forward, Surman co-founded and led Eye Multimedia LLC, a multimedia startup, and also consulted for a variety of businesses and not-for-profit projects.

Before that, Surman was the vice president of new business and strategic development, and vice president for classified advertising, for the New York Daily News. In those positions he was responsible for strategic partnerships, investment and acquisition activities, as well as leading advertising and classified sales teams.  Surman also held a series of management roles at The New York Times  in sales and marketing, product development and management, and corporate strategy and acquisitions; he worked in – or closely with – business units in multiple media segments, including digital media, newspapers, magazines, radio, and television broadcasting and production.

Earlier in his career, Surman was a management consultant with McKinsey & Company and a professional journalist. His writing and photography have appeared in The New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, Congressional Quarterly, Technology Review and other outlets.

“Barry’s work in growing revenues and managing operations at major newspapers makes him a perfect fit for the associate publisher position,” said Samuel Norich, publisher of the Forward. “We are pleased to have his management, sales and operational experience, as the Forward continues to explore new business and editorial opportunities.”
Surman holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MBA from Columbia Business School.   He serves on the alumni board of The Tech, MIT’s student newspaper, and the board of directors of the nonprofit organization Upwardly Global.

Why Our Camel Wears a Hat

It’s a balmy 42 degrees C in Beersheva today.

That’s 107.6 degrees F, but who’s counting.


Award-Winning Consultants

Lautman Maska Neill & Company is proud that three campaigns – which successfully raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for three wonderful organizations – were awarded Silver Maxis by the Direct Marketing Association of Washington (DMAW).

The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) multi-channel Department of Defense Campaign, the Masonic Children and Family Services of Texas acquisition package and the Center for Jewish History Calendar of Events renewal were all recognized by the DMAW for their stellar results and creative excellence.

The Maxi ceremony, held Monday, July 26th at the beginning of the Bridge Conference, was a great reminder that solid fundraising strategy (in a creative package) yields great results!

Congratulations to all of our associates at Lautman, Maska Neill & Company.

David, Yoav & Chana

Memorial Day 2010

For many, it’s simply the beginning of summer.

But for the members of  the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America Memorial Day is a time to remember and commemorate the military service, and sacrifice, of ten of thousands of Jewish Americans.

JWV, with over 154,000 members, is one of the largest and oldest (at 115 years) of the major American Jewish organizations.

Negev Direct is proud to work with the Jewish War Veterans.

You don’t have to be a veteran to support the organization. Just click here.

Happy Memorial Day. And thanks to the Jewish War Veterans who served with pride in the American military since its inception.


Bad Marketing

We’ve all seen it.

But every once in a while a particularly egregious example crosses our desk.
So let’s learn a lesson from someone else’s mistake.
Let’s say that you are about to launch a new magazine. No small project these days. Print media is in trouble, so you had better have a really good idea.
How about a magazine about Jewish history? Top writers, not too academic, lots of full-color photos and covering a time range from Biblical to recent.
OK, the concept is sound, if not a guaranteed success. So now what do you do?
You have a stated launch date of April 13th and lottery prizes for the first 1,000 subscribers.
You send out an insert in Jewish newspapers: 10 panels, full color, with several excerpted articles and lots of good photos and charts. Costs you a bundle, but hey, you need to spend money to make money, right?
I’m sold and ready to subscribe. I go to the website and…
I guess they blew all of the money on the brochure because the website looks cheap at best. I hit the subscribe button and I get an email form. I have no idea how much the subscription costs, if the magazine will be bi-monthly or an annual. There is no form to fill out.
I log out. As Jerry Seinfeld would have said, “What’s up with that”?
The moral of the story, dear marketer is this: if you’re going to do a job, then do a job.
Not half a job.
If your selling magazine subscriptions for the premier issue, spend some money on your subscription site.
It’s like sending out a direct mail appeal with no return address and no return envelope.
Maybe worse.

Snail Mail – Not Dead Yet

At least according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.

They call it Snail Mail in the article, a term that I have come to loathe, but am willing to overlook when I hear this sort of good news:

“Looking to cut costs amid the recession, Alicia Settle initially thought it would be a good idea to eliminate her company’s annual direct mailing. Spending about $20,000 on the personally signed letters, which offered customers a discount on early orders, seemed indulgent for Per Annum Inc., which sells city diaries, albums, and planners in the struggling corporate gift market. But after swapping snail mail for email last year, Ms. Settle saw a 25% drop in early orders compared with the same period the previous year.”

“We realized we had made a huge mistake,” says Ms. Settle, president of the New York firm.”

And Ms. Settle is not alone.

Lots of non-profits stopped sending direct mail prospecting in 2008-2009 to cut costs.

Lately they have been back in force, perhaps with a bit more caution than before, but with the realization that if you don’t go out looking for donors, they are unlikely to come to you by themselves.

And as trite as it may sound, you can still hold a piece of mail in your hand, sit down, read it at your leisure and write a check.

It may be a bit old-fashioned, but it still works.



Video: There’s Just Something About a Hand Written Letter With a Stamp on it.

In a world were most of us are inundated with emails and working on a computer

most of the day, there is something very authentic about a hand written or

personalized letter.

The Letter Lives On…

Startup Nation

That headline, believe it or not, refers to Israel, and also serves as the title of a new book by Dan Senor and Saul Singer.

Start Up Nationaddress the trillion dollar question: How is it that Israel, a country of 7.1 million, only 60 years old, surrounded by enemies, in a constant state of war since its founding and with few natural resources, produces more high-tech start up companies than large nations at peace, such as Japan, China, Korea, Canada and the United Kingdom?

The book is an interesting read and provides some facinating answers that the authors think can be applied to the American economy. Take a look at this interview with author Dan Senor when he appeared on CNBC:
We’re proud, in our own small way, to be part of the story as the first commercial list company operating in Israel.

Being of Service

What email message do I write most often?

I receive so many emails and spend much of my time in the office writing to clients and vendors.

Much of our business involves problem solving. And I often find myself in the position of being thanked for something that I, or one of our staff, has done: getting a rush order out, tracking down an answer on an urgent clearance…whatever.

We try and go the extra mile to provide the best service possible and I’m sure lots of our competitors try to as well.

And when thanked, I usually find myself writing “Our pleasure to be of service”. (If i’m in a particularly good mood, I may attach one of my photographs to the email for the recipient to enjoy as well).

The reason I use that phrase so often is that I really mean it. Not just as a slogan. Or a company motto. I really do mean it.

My father was an attorney for some 40 years and when asked what he enjoyed most about practicing law he will always answer “the chance to help people who really needed it”. And he meant it.

They don’t build lawyers like that anymore.

I’ve tried to inculcate that spirit of service throughout Negev Direct: helping clients, vendors and sometimes even people who are trying to contact a rival company. And not just helping them, but understanding that helping them really is our pleasure and what makes our company special.
It truly is our pleasure to be of service.

Cutting Donor Acquisition? Read This First.

When times are tough, budgets get cut.

But, while cutting acquisition may look sensible now, the pain will come in two to three years.
Why? Because that’s when acquisition-acquired donors move from break-even to money-making.
Jeff Brooks of makes the case in a well-written article.
“Abandoning acquisition can create catastrophic and lasting financial impacts in the form of depressed fundraising for yesrs to come. Don’t be one of those organizations that scrapes by and survives the recession, only to go under a year or two afterward because it made destructive cuts to its acquisition lifeline.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Click on this link to read Jeff’s full column.

Great Product Copy – Part 1

This is a post from my new blog that I thought would be particularly relevant for the Jewish Donor Blog audience. Enjoy!

Ever pick up a product you’ve never heard of, read the label, and known immediately that you HAVE to buy it? Usually it’s the packaging and design that seal the deal. It just looks too good not to have.
But occasionaly the text alone is so compelling, you’re actually happy to part with your last dollar to try it! You don’t know the brand, it’s really expensive, and frankly, you don’t even like granola. But you buy it anyways.
This is the first in a series of posts about these types of goods and services.
Our first case study is dorset cereals. Here’s what I found on the side of their berries and cherries cereal box:
We believe that life really is too short to settle for second best and that simple, honest pleasures are often the most rewarding…
Visit to read the rest of the post. Are you using YOUR marketing writing effectively?

Another Take on Efficiency

Maybe it’s time to take another look at efficiency as a measure of worth, especially in the non-profit sector.

There are other factors involved, and they need to be considered when making a donation.

Check out this article by consultant Dan Pallotta in

Secular vs. Religious

Thanks to the New York Times for the above graphic.
Clear, concise and to-the-point.
Charitable contributions drop drastically in 2008 while donations to religious organizations defy the trend and actually rise.
What’s the message for fundraisers?
Should your organization tweak its message?
Get back in the mail more agressively?
It’s certainly food for thought.

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