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During Campaigns, Printers Fail to Exploit the Strengths of Direct Mail



We’re approaching the height of the election season and have already reached peak Print Is Dead Season. (That’s when pundits and marketers can’t distinguish between the demise of printed periodicals and the relevance of print media in general.) So it’s the perfect time for the true story of Mr. Flamboyant and Mr. Subdued, a tale that demonstrates how the unique strengths of direct mail can boost political campaigns — and many other types of marketing programs as well.

Once upon a time in the olden days, before Al Gore invented the internet, Mr. Flamboyant and Mr. Subdued (not their real names, but you probably figured that out already) were opposing candidates in an off-cycle election for a relatively obscure municipal office. I happened to be acquainted with both men.

Neither had run for office before. Both possessed good qualifications for the office they sought, with Mr. Flamboyant having a slight edge on paper.

Flamboyant was a lively, hob-knobbing sort of guy, with a campaign that reflected his outgoing personality. One stunt was an airplane towing a Flamboyant banner that flew over the city’s big annual festival, which just about everyone in town attended.

The campaign of Subdued, whom a newspaper reporter compared to Dudley Do-Right, was much less in the public view. Unlike Mr. Flamboyant, he hardly advertised at all in the local newspaper. (You see, kids, newspapers used to be printed on actual paper and – oh, never mind.)

Flamboyant outspent Subdued by a substantial amount. But Subdued won the election in a landslide, doubling Flamboyant’s vote count.

I ran into Subdued a couple of weeks after the election and asked him how he did it. Targeted mailings, he said.

Subdued realized that, with no other races on the ballot, turnout would be extremely low. Name recognition alone was almost meaningless; he had to get people to the polls.

His direct mail pieces went into more depth on the same issues addressed in his newspaper ad. But they also went further, highlighting his work on Democratic campaigns and his endorsements from popular Democratic politicians.

The mailings were sent only to people who had voted in recent Democratic primaries, which was a relatively small portion of the city’s total electorate.

Flamboyant’s aerial banner at the festival was the equivalent of today’s “Everyone’s on social media, so let’s promote there” approach:

  • Wrong message: No ability to say why people should vote for him.
  • Wrong audience: Out-of-towners, non-voters, and even supporters of Mr. Subdued.
  • Wrong time: People were in a let’s-have-fun/wipe-that-sticky-cotton-candy-off-the kids’-faces mindset, not in a civic-minded mode. It was like trying to put a serious message in front of people watching cat videos on Facebook.

Avoiding the wrong audience

A strength of Subdued’s campaign is that it was largely invisible to Republicans – whom he definitely did not want thinking about the election. 

That ability to prevent the “wrong” audience from seeing a promotion is still one of direct mail’s advantages. And it’s not just for political campaigns.

Real estate agents generally hate wasting time talking to people with bad credit. Gun-control organizations don’t want NRA members to see their fundraising appeals.

Email: cheap but ineffective

Email is often touted as a cheap way to reach a targeted audience. No, it’s a cheap way to reach a small portion of a targeted audience.

For direct mail, you don’t need someone’s email address. Or their opt-in. You don’t even need their name. You can literally reach every unit of an apartment complex or every purchasing manager in a particular industry.

And they’ll actually see the campaign. Marketers are ecstatic when they achieve a 20% open rate for an email campaign. Direct mail open rates dwarf that. And with a postcard or effective envelope, a mail piece can have an impact even if it’s not opened.

The problem with printers

In my experience, however, printers have a weakness when it comes to exploiting direct mail’s strength: they think other printers are the competition.

Having the lowest printing prices in town is great for those clients that have already decided on direct mail, have a mailing list, and use one of those rare-as-unicorn designers who can output a print-ready PDF that has bleed, hi-res images, properly placed crop marks, and no Pantone colors.

But when selling to everyone else, the real competition is digital advertising, paid social-media promotions, marketing consultants, and good old inertia. Those clients need to be sold on direct mail, not just on printing.

That means being able to offer turnkey solutions — whether in-house, subcontractors, or recommended vendors — that include list selection, copy writing, design, and postal issues.

Your ability to use voter-registration data, new-mover lists, Every Door Direct Mail, etc., could be real eye openers for political campaigns — and for many other clients as well. The aim is to sell solutions, not just ink on paper.

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Warner Robins GA Credit Repair Finance Score Improvement Service Launched



New credit repair services have been launched by the expert team at Fresh Start Consumer Services. They work with clients in Warner Robins, GA and the surrounding areas.

New credit repair services have been launched by the expert team at Fresh Start Consumer Services. They work with clients in Warner Robins, GA and the surrounding areas.

Fresh Start Consumer Services has launched a new credit repair service for clients looking to improve their financial future. Interested parties can sign up for credit consultations, in-depth credit analysis, credit recommendations and more.

Full details can be found at:

The newly launched services are designed to ensure clients can repair bad financial credit history, track their improvement campaign in measurable ways, and secure a better future for themselves and their family.

Clients can work with Fresh Start Consumer Services to clean up their past. This is achieved by working with the major credit bureaus and creditors to challenge the negative report items that affect the credit score.

Based in Warner Robins, GA, the expert team at Fresh Start Consumer Services is passionate about helping citizens to improve their credit score to give them more buying power. As a result of this, clients are able to secure more options in life.

The team understands that sometimes bad things happen to good people, and their services are designed to ensure that clients can get the most out of life. They also realize that a bad credit score can harm clients’ quality of life – and can be a difficult situation to get out of.

Fresh Start Consumer Services offer courses in credit repair and restoration, budget management, credit education and purchase assistance. Clients get easy access to their account 24/7 for live status updates on improvements, allowing them to fine-tune the management of their credit score.

Service options include personalized dispute options to fit each clients’ exact credit repair needs, an experienced case analyst and case advisor working personally with them throughout the process, custom dispute letters, and more.

For clients, there are a number of reasons to work with a credit repair specialist. Clients are able to secure significant savings on interest rates, attain better terms on loan products, and get access to the best credit card deals. They also gain access to more housing options.

The team states: “Fresh Start Consumer Services offers a unique combination of services that gives our clients the quality of life they deserve. We specialize in helping our clients achieve qualifying credit and the financial health they desire.”

Full details can be found on the URL above.

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Is it Possible to Trade In a Car Early?



Yes, early trade-ins are possible when you finance a vehicle. In fact, there’s no set time frame on trading in a car. Most dealers won’t take a trade-in that’s too fresh, though, and it’s best to wait until there’s equity in your vehicle before you try to trade it in.

What’s a Trade-In?

When you trade in a car, you’re essentially selling it to a dealership and financing something else from their lot, without the hassle of selling and buying with separate transactions. There are no hard-and-fast rules about how and where you have to trade in your vehicle.

However, it’s beneficial to shop around and see which dealers can give you the best price, but you shouldn’t just head to a car lot and ask what they’re willing to offer you. When the time comes, there are several steps you may want to take to get ready for the trade-in process, especially if you’re looking to trade in early before you’ve had the chance to close the equity gap.

Trading In Early and Equity

Are Early Trade-Ins Possible When You Finance a Car?When you’re trading in a vehicle soon after you’ve financed it, you’re more likely to be in a negative equity position – owing more on your auto loan than the car is worth.

This is especially true if you financed a new vehicle, or a certified pre-owned car. Newer vehicles depreciate faster than used ones, which have typically already seen their biggest drop in value.

Depreciation is the loss of value over time and it can’t be stopped. It can be slowed, though. The best way to do this is by using a large down payment when you finance. This reduces the amount you have to borrow, and leaves you owing a price closer to what the car might cost after you drive it off the lot. New vehicles typically lose around 10% of their value as soon as they touch the road.

If you don’t have the equity to recoup your investment in a car, you have to make up that difference out of your own pocket. It’s much easier to trade in a vehicle that can pay for itself, but this isn’t always possible when you’re trying to do so early.

Preparing Your Early Trade-In

When you know that you’re starting with a deficit on your trade-in, it’s a good idea to be prepared to get the most you can. Clean the car thoroughly, both inside and out, and make sure to fix any minor damage that may have occurred in the short time since you took out your loan.

Getting the vehicle detailed and fixing major mechanical issues isn’t likely to result in a worthwhile increase to the cash in your pocket, so don’t go overboard. Remember, you want to make as much money on this trade as you can, and it’s probably cheaper for the dealership to fix any large issues.

Before you set foot in a dealer to get your trade-in appraised, it’s a good idea to know approximately how much your car is worth. You can find this out by going to online valuation sites such as Kelley Blue Book or NADAguides. Be sure to be honest when you’re inputting information, since it’s the only way to get an accurate estimate of possible value.

Shopping for Trade-In Values

Once you have the estimates (which you should print or save to your phone), it’s time to take your trade-in to get looked at. Taking it to a few different dealerships is a good way to find the best deal you can.

We recommend taking your early trade-in to at least three different dealers, making sure at least one of them is a franchised dealership that sells your vehicle’s brand. A franchised dealer that sells your car’s brand may be more likely to offer a higher price.

Depending on your credit situation, it’s likely a good idea to ensure you’re trying to trade in your vehicle to a dealership that can work with your situation, especially if you have poor credit. And that’s where Auto Credit Express can come in handy.

We have a nationwide network of special finance dealers that are signed up with subprime lenders who can help people in many different types of credit situations, including bad credit, no credit, and even bankruptcy.

The process is easy to get started – just fill out our free auto loan request form. We’ll match you to a local dealership that can get you started on the financing you need after your early trade-in.

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Jackson receives financial reporting award



JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) – The City of Jackson is getting international recognition for its transparency in financial reporting.

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to Jackson for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019.

The CAFR was judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program. Standards include demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate the financial story of the City and encourage users and groups to read the CAFR. The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting.

“This is great for the City as a whole because it improves our bond rating,” said City Manager Jonathan Greene. “We believe this award will help our residents understand the work we do to make the City’s finances transparent and easy to understand.”

Bond Ratings are letter grades assigned to bonds that indicates good or bad credit for an entity like the City of Jackson. By having a strong bond rating cities are granted opportunities to pay back interest at lower rates.

The CAFR can be viewed HERE.

Copyright 2020 WILX. All rights reserved.

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