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Direct Mail Success Is More Than Just a Fable

By Tracy A. Gill

Not too long ago, in lands not too far away, a small telecom service provider sent a B-to-B direct mail campaign that put a new twist on the old narrative format. The moral of this tale is that a little direct mail innovation can go a long way.

Covad Communication's story began in summer 2004, when it ran a series of four radio spots in three of its major metro areas—Baltimore/D.C., San Francisco and Manhattan—each playing on a different fable, including "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and "The Three Little Pigs."
The purpose of these spots, according to Chris McGarry, senior manager, customer acquisitions for Covad, "was not to generate response, but to increase response for the direct mail campaign that was to follow." In September, the first two pieces of that campaign made their way to the Who's Mailing What! Archive.

The first piece is a 6" x 8" self-mailer designed to look like a storybook, with the title, "The Emperor's New Clothes, Episode II" (Archive code #837-605039-0409A). The mailer opens to reveal an eight-page booklet, the first two pages of which are a letter, and the subsequent pages, an illustrated sequel to the fable:

... the Emperor regained his former glory by building a formidable business empire. But, to stay on top, the emperor needed high-speed DSL. ... So the Emperor ordered Covad Business-Class Broadband. With Covad's performance guarantees, he achieved the results he projected, got the speed he needed ... And was never caught with his pants down again.

This may be an unusual concept for a B-to-B mailing intended to sell a high-end technical product, and a distinctive take on the narrative format, but that uniqueness is exactly what Covad was going for. As a small company in a large market, Covad's biggest challenge is cultivating brand awareness, which it hopes to do with the one-two punch of radio and high-impact direct mail. "We would probably get more response from a straightforward business letter," says McGarry. "However, we also want to have impact and a lot of integration with the radio campaign. We started big and tried to leverage as much of the integrated campaign as possible up front. And once we've gained the awareness, then we pepper [prospects] with the business letter."

That business letter follow-up takes a more traditional B-to-B route: a white #10 envelope with a one-page business letter and a brochure that tells the emperor's tale (Archive code #837-605039-0409B).

For Covad, this multi-layered strategy seems to have a real fairy-tale ending. It has seen business rise about 30 percent in each of the three targeted markets. In addition, it conducted a test in Philadelphia without the radio ads and has seen sales increase by the same 30 percent. "We are convinced of the ROI of the direct mail program," says McGarry. "Direct mail is very important for all of us who sell off of a network because it allows for highly targeted messaging."

Covad intends to continue testing, with some cells receiving just the self-mailer and others just the #10, to determine empirically which format works best. "We suspect that the business letter is going to get higher response rates," says McGarry. "But the self-mailer is going to be big, impactful, interactive; it's going to make an impression."

Whatever the outcome, it looks like this telecom and its mailing plan will live happily ever after. "The strategy of going big followed by smaller #10s is what we think is going to work for us," adds McGarry.

Online Advertising Leader AzoogleAds Grew More Than 100 Percent in the First Half of 2005, Dramatically Outpacing the Overall Growth of the Industry

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 10, 2005--

AzoogleAds Reports Nearly 46 Billion CPA Impressions and 10 Million Unique Transactions, Underscoring Its Position as Leading CPA Advertising Network

AzoogleAds (, a leader in performance-based online advertising, today announced that during the first two quarters of 2005, the company improved revenue and EBITDA by more than 100 percent as compared to the first half of 2004. In 2004, AzoogleAds' revenues surged to $64 million.

In the first half of 2005, the AzoogleAds Network, which has more than 7,000 websites and publishers, generated approximately 46 billion cost-per-action (CPA) impressions. It generated 461 million unique click-throughs and facilitated almost 10 million transactions or sales from January to June 30th. These metrics illustrate that the AzoogleAds Network is one of the industry's largest CPA networks.

Much of this growth is attributable to AzoogleAd's fraud-proof model in which the company pays publishers only when verified actions are generated. This model enables AzoogleAds to deliver one of the most cost-effective and risk-free advertising tools available to customers such as, Omaha Steaks, Netflix,,, MatchNet, and Ask Jeeves.

"Our focus on maximizing revenue and guaranteeing return on investment for both advertisers and publishers has enabled AzoogleAds to grow into one of the industry's largest CPA ad networks," said Joe Speiser, AzoogleAds co-founder. "That volume and reach, coupled with the quality of leads generated and a performance-based model, deliver a return on advertising dollars unmatched by other providers and other advertising vehicles."

Specializing in all forms of online media, AzoogleAds offers high-impact direct marketing response and fast return on investment through banner network and site-specific advertising, online promotions, data-capture and co-registration programs, campaign management and advertising measurement. A pioneer in the performance-based advertising industry, recent network metrics illustrate that AzoogleAds has the largest network of quality traffic, with network partners reaching billions of impressions monthly.

The online advertising industry continues to grow exponentially, mushrooming to $2.8 billion in first-quarter revenues, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau. And the rate doesn't seem to show signs of slowing. Forrester Research predicts that online advertising will increase by 23 percent, reaching $14.7 billion in 2005, and growing to $26 billion by 2010.

"The rapid growth we've experienced is a good illustration of the industry's trend toward allocating more and more of the ad budget toward new and more measurable forms of advertising that fuel amazing growth," said Alex Zhardanovsky, AzoogleAds co-founder. "The model of the AzoogleAds Network enables us to offer effective solutions for clients and positions us to capitalize on this industry growth and maintain our leadership position."

About AzoogleAds

AzoogleAds, founded in 2000, is a profitable and rapidly growing online advertising network that delivers customers and generates revenues for its customers. A pioneer in the performance-based advertising industry, AzoogleAds now has the largest network of quality traffic. This highly effective network coupled with proprietary technology and unparalleled industry expertise enables the AzoogleAds team to deliver the most comprehensive and cost-effective strategic online marketing campaigns for advertisers of all sizes and across all industries.

For publishers, AzoogleAds provides high-impact campaigns that enable publishers to maximize earnings on their inventory. AzoogleAds customers include, Omaha Steaks, Netflix,,, MatchNet, Ask Jeeves and Intermix, among others. The company is privately held and venture backed by TA Associates and the Stripes Group. For more information, please visit AzoogleAds' website at


Regina Barboza (Media), 973-313-1689



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