Do People Still Mail PSAs?
Success of a public service announcement (PSA) campaign is due to broadcasters’ goodwill and support for your mission. Before the message can be aired to an audience, you must first advocate your cause to the media gatekeepers. There are few opportunities for pitching directly to a station representative, so most appeals are done through media notification. Digital notification is established as a standard method of distribution, but with e-mail being typical practice, there is greater competition within inboxes. One method that can improve reception is through Direct mail marketing: including hard copies of a PSA along with accompanying media materials in a custom-designed package to broadcasters. This can be an effective, complimentary service to improve engagement and conversion rates.
The Advantages of Direct Mail Marketing
The value of direct mail marketing is the physicality of its deliverables. Engagement rate is high for direct mailers, as the visual presentation is a multi-sensory experience that makes a PSA campaign easier to recall.
Digital broadcast distributions for PSAs have advantages (budgeting an important one) but a group of broadcasters remain who haven’t fully adopted to the technology. In a survey conducted among TV Public Service Directors from 100 stations in 39 states, including the District of Columbia, 37% of respondents claim to never receive a PSA through digital means, while 20% reported “Frequently”. Of those respondents answering “Never” or “Occasionally,” the reasons given included lack of technology, virus concerns, and 55% stated hard copies make downloading unnecessary.
Those generally hesitant of direct mail may recall a time when mail boxes were inundated with solicitations, but the postal space is not as oversaturated as it was. Marketers have steadily increased their investments in online advertising, but public perception of postal delivery has changed to a type of novelty, and studies have found a swing in opinion. Consumers and broadcasters alike receive hundreds of e-mails every single day, whereas something arriving by mail can therefore receive more attention.
Best Practices for PSA Disc Packaging Design
So now that we’ve established that hard copy PSA mailers can garner more attention, packaging design is also very important to help distinguish your campaign from the competition. Visual elements help to reduce barriers, allowing your message to be received and understood by a ready audience. Here are some tips to improve your next disc packaging design project:
- Include images such as photographs or infographics to improve visual communication. To ensure images are printed at the best quality, image resolution must be at least 300 dpi, in a lossless file format such as .tiff or .eps.
- Do not resize an image to 300 dpi, which can cause interpolation, and degrade the image quality.
- Important information, such as PSA campaign end date and a list of media files, should be on both the disc case jacket and disc.
- Use this opportunity to draw attention to the call-to-action webpage by including the URL on the design.
- Reserve the back of the disc case jacket for either the script(s) or director’s letter. This will provide quick access for those seeking context.
- Color Accuracy: There are primarily two color systems a printer utilizes: processed or spot color. The processed color system prints four colored dots, (cyan, magenta, yellow and black, or CMYK) during the production process to create a variety of colors. Spot color systems uses specifically mixed colors. Colors are mixed to match specific hues set by a color match system such as the popular Pantone Matching System (PMS). Because of this, spot colors are more accurate but will increase printing cost and turnaround time. Need to save on costs and time? Talk to your designer about your options. While not always possible, the designer and printer may be able to find a close CMYK color match.
Success for a media campaign requires messaging to be reinforced through multiple channels. The digital space has matured from being a new frontier for marketing -- e-mail marketing has now become as highly competitive as direct mail once was. The new generation of the public perceive mailers more receptively than digital notifications. However, a combined strategy that includes both e-mail and direct mail out performs either medium in isolation.
 “Myths and Frequently Asked Questions About PSAs.” PSA Research Center, http://www.psaresearch.com/faq.html. Accessed on 29 October 2019.
ABOUT THE EXPERT: William Chung
William is a member of MultiVu’s distribution team. He joined the organization in 2012, starting his career in online video distribution. Mentorship within MultiVu expanded his career path into the broadcast and OOH fields.
As a graduate from the Fashion Institute of Technology, majoring in Illustration, William is trained in the visual narrative. His creative contributions for MultiVu include PSA packaging design and content for social media.
MultiVu, a Cision/PR Newswire division, produces and places compelling content strategically across multiple channels globally to deliver targeted results and drive desired engagement. Created in 2002 from network news veterans and media relations professionals, MultiVu has grown into a content creation and media strategy company, leading in the broadcast communications industry. More information can be found on www.multivu.com.