Regional Agency Boosts Direct Mail Response
Rate with Variable Data Printing

In 2006, a large regional insurance broker promoting supplemental health products mailed approximately 8,000 self-mailers per month and realized a 1 percent to 2 percent response rate across four different mailers. With direct mail as the only driver for new business, the client needed a new strategy to boost response and hired Tri-Win as its direct mail printer and consultant. Tri-Win worked with the client to evolve its campaign from a self-mailer format to a mail merge letter in a brown kraft business envelope, and the response rate doubled to nearly 4 percent across the board. The client has since increased its distribution from 8,000 per month to almost 200,000 due to the success of the program.

Business Challenges
As the client ramped up its direct mail marketing strategy, the economic climate took a nose dive, and the Great Recession began. As a result, the competitive business landscape throughout the insurance industry changed dramatically. With high unemployment a reality, a large number of professionals who had been forced to leave their existing jobs made the decision to start their own sole proprietorship or insurance agency. With more competition, the client saw a drop in the response rate.

It soon became apparent that the client needed to revamp the direct mail campaign to stay ahead of a rapidly increasing band of newcomers that were beginning to crowd the marketplace. In this highly competitive industry, newer companies tend to copy the successful marketing strategies of predecessors and veterans, prompting the need for the client to find a different way to successfully stand out. Further, because the client’s target market (baby boomers) is the same for other insurance brokers, the client needed a competitive marketing edge that could not be easily duplicated.

Tri-Win’s Role
Initially, Tri-Win’s role was to guide the client through the evolution from self-mailer to mail merge letter, which allowed for a more professional and sophisticated impression. Tri-Win also assisted with data list management and copy messaging, which proved to be complex due to the nature of the insurance industry.

For example, Tri-Win was able to utilize the age, gender, and zip code information from the consumer data file in conjunction with the various insurance providers’ rate charts to personalize the offering to each individual. Therefore, rather than sending out a generalized offering for potential savings for a specific type of coverage, the client was able to utilize variable data printing to specifically show each recipient the lowest rates available on the two most commonly purchased plans in his or her area.

With the new mail merge letter and envelope format, the client realized an immediate spike in the aggregate response rate from approximately 1.5 percent to nearly 4 percent. The new format also gave the audience the ability to respond with more channels (phone, email, Web) rather than solely with a “reply” card, providing more opportunity to capture client interest. And most importantly, with the implementation of variable data printing to show the mail recipients a true age-specific rate scenario, the client experienced a near 20 percent improvement in response rates.


Learn more about the ways large agencies utilize variable data printing to build business.
Contact Joe Gateley at 214.826.2244, ext 204, or