By Ethan Boldt
With postal rates set to increase again next month, direct mailers will continue to try new formats. Here is a sampling of formats suggested by some publishing clients of the Wayne, N.J.-based Ballantine Corporation, which recently released its 2008 Direct Mail Format Report.
1. Hybrid Voucher
To lower costs, publishers have used the simple voucher package for years. Recently, however, response rates have dipped, perhaps due to overusage of this popular format. Consequently, there will be a greater call for the “hybrid voucher package,” which is a combination of a more elaborate voucher and a standard #10 package.
2. Magalog (trim size 10-1/2˝ x 16˝)
One publishing client revealed that its 8-1/2˝ x 11˝ poly control was killing it on postage after last year’s postal hike, so it’s hoping this new magalog format will beat the control and can be configured to mail at the letter rate.

3. Triple Postcard with Survey
Another publisher will be testing some letter-size magalogs alongside some vouchers, but also trying a triple postcard with survey questions–an unusual format for publishing direct mail.

4. #10 with a Weldseam, Self-Return Envelope
One marketer plans to test a weldseam, self-return envelope (in which the order form and reply envelope are all part of one piece) that’s inserted into a #10 window envelope–another tactic rarely seen in the publishing field. Using four-color printing and VDP, the test effort could replace its previous letter/voucher and BRE package, resulting in savings across the board.
—Source: Reprinted from Target Marketing Magazine