.. ed by associations or business organizations such as; stock holder reports, newsletters, and consumer magazines. 9) Catalogs- are reference books that list, describe, and often picture the products sold by a manufacturer, wholesaler, jobber, or retailer. Some mail-order companies prosper with specialized products like outdoor clothing and gear, electronic gadgets, or even gourmet foods. The Use of Visual Communication The use of visual communication for direct-mail pieces are made to be unique for each of the individual target markets.
Therefore, the writers, artists, publishers, marketers, and advertisers need to be intelligently selective about the visual communication that is involved on the mail. For instance, to name two different audiences, it may require to use distinct art and design strategies. Also, the designer must determine the direct-mail pieces accomplishment. For example, if the target is a non-profit organization, should they consider using full color or glossy stock? As a designer of a direct-mail piece, they must first attract the reader, get the piece picked up, opened, and read. Also, in direct-mail, the advertising must be present. To be successful, each direct-mail piece must contain the following principals, which are interrelated with one another: 1) Letterhead- a clever letterhead is what counts on direct-mail pieces, it cannot be too small not too large, the font must also relate with the visual communication that is presented on the direct-mail piece. 2) Intriguing Visuals- Perhaps this is the single most attractive feature of a direct-mail piece.
This may include: photos, cartoons, high adventure, fantasy, classic to modern pictures, and even sexual messages to name a few. 3) Benefits- Since direct-mail is pure advertising, the piece must present the reader of the benefits of the product or service, this may include: safety, image, discounts or incentives, sweepstakes, and convenience to name a few. 4) Company logo- The companys name, logo, or signature must be present in the direct-mail piece. In order to have success, the company must be recognized by the reader. This may be an iconic or arbitrary form of visual information.
5) How To..- How to get the product, where to buy it, how much does it cost. Basically, all the necessary information that the reader needs. This can include: a 800 number, the name of store or mall, a website address, or even a map of the participating retailer. Internets Use of Visual Communication The internets use of visual communication is a different story. Direct-mail experts do not seem to have confidence on the visual communication involved their Websites. Since direct-mail online is still in its developing stages, many of us web surfers simply ignore, block, or trash our junk e-mail that is sent to us.
Also, to get into the e-mailing list, a consumer must fill out an information form, which is often ignored. As a matter of fact, many advertisers do not maintain their databases. Thus, possible consumers are not sent vital information about their products, sales, or current trends. However, I visited a few Websites that involves direct-mail companies. These companies used different visual communication devices to attract their possible target audience. Among these sites are: J.
Crew, Victorias Secret, and The Gap, which are all involved in direct-mail advertising, as well as in the clothing and apparel market. 1) J. Crew- This particular sight used the Christmas season for its visual imagery. Also, the use of models with different races, social classes, and social backgrounds, reminded me of a lighter side of Bennetton advertising. Unfortunately, this particular site did not have many enticing visual communicative imagery. It did contain snow and pine trees in the background as well as on the clothing of the models.
The website is very easy to use, and the use of normal everyday models is very appealing, which targets just about every possible consumer market. However, the site lacked important visual communication. 2) Victorias Secret- This site mainly uses beautiful models as the visual imagery. I also noticed the possible use of subliminal advertising in Victorias Secrets website, catalogs, and direct-mail pieces. Victorias Secret places the company logo on the breasts of their models, thus enticing the viewers mind on the sexual part of the female body ( or is it just the man in me?). Also, this was the only site out of the three, that uses a two table format, which made the site easier to use.
The visual communication involved in the website appeared in just about every picture. It involved the models with visual communicative imagery such as: a spiral staircase, fountains, angel wings, low and distorted background lighting, and office and household furnitures. The spiral staircase may represent a step up on your love-life, the fountain as purity and youth, while the angel wings representing strength and comfort, and the lighting just added a more classic and seductive view of the models. 3) The Gap- This Webpage used the seasonal clothing apparel as its storefront. However, it did not involve any visual communication in its storefront. However, it is simple to use and I was able to find the proper information that I requested such as: products, store location, and customer service.
There was a interesting feature in the Gaps website, they involved the visitor with the popular television commercials by adding the download feature of the chosen commercial, as well as numerous desktop pictures. The visual communication used for the commercials were focused mainly on the musicians and the clothing they wear. That is the main reason that the company used a plain white room, with no eye catching visuals. Therefore, the audiences eyes will not wander around and will recognize the spokesperson and the apparel they wear. A simple yet ingenious advertising idea if you ask me.
Hal Pawlucks 4 Rs All three Websites use Pawlucks four Rs quite well. All three Websites the were quick to load and responsive to my needs. They were simple, yet effective. The Websites were also relevant, it consisted with every information that a consumer needs, such as: customer service, new products, and sweepstakes. The repeatability of the webpages were well maintained. All three focused on the up coming Christmas Season, and also the future products that the store will be acquiring for the next fashion season.
It also had a sweepstakes, extra incentives, and even a online discount card, which may have an positive effect for customer return. All three sites were rewarding, although they all varied from elegant to simple use of visual imagery, all three were good overall sites to visit. Future of Direct-Mail on the Internet Direct-mail online or online-retailing, in which consumers use their computers to shop for products and make purchases, primarily through online services (such as America Online and Prodigy) and the World Wide Web. Direct-mail online is in its infancy, generating a meager total of $125 million in sales during 1995. Thus far, most vendors have not come up with the proper marketing mix for direct-mail online. For instance, assortments are very limited, discounts are rare, and the graphic showrooms are often are not particularly attractive or entertaining.
Also, the expense of establishing an appealing, functional Web site is considerable, ranging from $300,000 to $3 million or more. However, as vendors gain online experience, it is expected that the effectiveness of the Web sites should improve as the costs decline. Furthermore, it is estimated that as many as 30 million potential buyers will be online within the next several years, most of them computer proficient and many of them with substantial buying power. For these reasons, the prospects for online retailing are bright, with predicted sales of around $5 billion by the beginning of the new century (Etzel, Stanton, and Walker 394). Many of the sites that I have visited are now involved in many innovative ideas to promote their products.
Among them is the personal information file, where consumers can fill out a form with an e-mail address, in order to receive a weekly information about sales, products, incentives, contests, and seasonal fashions. As consumer behavior changes, technology will adapt to its needs. Sooner or later, I predict that databases will be so advanced, that on-line marketers will be capable of identifying the needs and behaviors of the consumer market. Perhaps consumers will not need to fill out the time consuming personal information form, thus getting e-mails from the companies that we visit or interested in. As a matter of fact, some of the largest commercial sites on the World Wide Web have agreed to feed information about their customers reading, shopping and entertainment habits into a new and improved database system that is now tracking the moves of more than 30 million Internet users, recording where they go, and what they read, often without the users knowledge.
This agreement by participating Web sites is primarily used for direct-advertising, it promises to deliver precise, direct, and personalized ads, specifically for that target user. Eventhough this is said to be an invasion of privacy, many of the powerful commercial sites are using, selling, and distributing these consumer behaviors and informations to numerous retailers, advertisers, and marketers for direct-advertising use. Many advertising and marketing experts believe that direct-mail online is only in its early developmental stages. As an evolving mass medium, online direct-mail advertising is where radio was in 1920, where television was in 1950, and where cable was during 1970. All of these, you may have observed, are now universal.
Bibliography Etzel, Michael, J., Stanton, William, J., and Walker, Bruce, J. Marketing: 11th edition. NewYork: McGraw-Hill Companies Inc., 1997. Arens, William, F. Contemporary Advertising: 6th edition. Chicago: Irwin Inc.,1996 Nelson, Roy, P. The Design of Advertising: 7th edition.
Wisconsin: WCB Brown & Benchmark Publishers, 1994.