Testing Innovative Formats

At CCAH, we’re always looking for ways to entice donors and prospects to support our clients, and it’s not always easy to stand out from the crowd. The DMAW recently hosted its annual Innovative Formats seminar and provided a platform for direct mail professionals to explore a variety of effective tactics. Senior Vice President of Production, Shannon Murphy co-chaired the event and invited several vendors from across the country to present new and exciting formats that they can produce.

With 13 presentations, Innovative Formats provided attendants with a variety of ideas to bring to their next testing brainstorm – from using coins, to lenticular, to augmented reality, and more. Here were a few of my favorites:

  • Data Mail brought samples of their Response-Pak, which offers an all-in-one format for an offer, premium, and nested inserts. In The Boys & Girls Club package below, the reply envelope is conveniently nested within the self-mailer, and a handy calendar that perfs off of the bottom. 

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  • Three Dog Logistics was confident in their small box format, which they claimed has a 100% open rate. Although a little more costly than your standard #10 envelope, the box is appropriately sized to qualify for marketing parcel rate. And to maximize the use of this format, Three Dog Logistics recommends including an object that “rattles” (dog tags, keychains, etc.) within to evoke curiosity to open the package.



  • The Fold Factory presented several examples of ingenious ways to revamp your mail. We saw elaborate folds, unusual textures, impressive visual tricks, and the integration of tech among several other ideas.

Direct marketing is all about finding ways to connect with our audience in a compelling manner. A warranted concern, as we keep things fresh, is the potential cost of revamping our pieces with high-end techniques. There’s no question that for some great formats, the costs can be unwieldy, but you never know what a small test could reveal. And, did you know that the USPS offers promotions from time to time for creative elements in your mail? Be sure to keep track of special postage rate discounts to minimize your costs and maximize your tests results!

Even if your control packages continue to be strong performers, don’t be afraid to mix it up in testing. Keep these innovative formats in mind next time you need to spice up your mail!

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