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Mailbox Monday


When someone asks our opinion, we very naturally feel noticed and valued. It's human nature. Research firms use surveys to collect data on everything from shopping habits to political preferences. Marketers use surveys too — not just to collect data (although, clearly, that's important), but sometimes in lieu of a more traditional solicitation. For the recipient, a survey doesn't feel like a sales pitch, which can mean that they spend more time with it and may be more likely to respond.

We recently received a survey package from Wealth Enhancement Group. By asking us to participate in the "2022 National Study on Retirement Planning," they encouraged our participation and also made us question whether or not we were prepared for retirement. The package uses a lot of classic engagement devices, and by the end of the survey, two things happen: 1) they've collected a lot of very valuable data about us, and 2) we've thought about our needs and may have even convinced ourselves that we need their help.

The outer envelope is oversized (6" x 11") and personalized. Although there's a Minnesota return address, the mailer doesn't tip its hand quite yet. We see the official-sounding name of the survey, and some printed alerts that make it all seem important and time-sensitive: "Survey questionnaire enclosed for ..." "Survey number: WEG0122" and a faux-stamped direction: "Do Not Bend" (everything in all caps, of course). The personalized teaser explains, "We are seeking your opinions on important timely issues that could have an effect on your retirement and goals." There's a deadline to reply, and a "FREE Participation Gift" offer. A live (presort standard) stamp completes the picture.

Inside, there's a 4-page insert which serves as a personalized letter which tells us about the survey and plants some seeds about retirement  planning. A color sidebar and the P.S. showcase the offer, a 16-page booklet "7 Things Your Financial Advisor May Not Be Telling You," which adds just enough FUD and a bit of FOMO.

Inside, the survey itself is quite simple and easy-to-follow. It covers demographics, attitudes about retirement, and financial planning, and even some personal financial data. The last question serves as a low-key CTA: "Check here if you would like to l earn more about a free, no-obligation introductory meeting with a Wealth Enhancement Group advisor.

On the back of the piece, there's a quick paragraph about the sender, a toll-free number, and website. There's very little disclaimer information (the package, by its nature, doesn't give advice or make promissory statements) — which is refreshing in a financial services promotion.

The final piece is a BRC.

The survey approach is ideal for this particular service. The package achieves its objectives and, despite its generous size, looks cost-efficient. It uses smart direct mail techniques without straying from the main "It's a survey" concept. In our opinion (get it?), it works and works well.

The Bs give it a thumbs-up.

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