Will our association get better results using oversized brochures?

Your association’s marketing materials probably come in a variety of sizes:  three-panel brochures that fit in #10 envelopes, larger brochures or fliers that fit in 9 x 12 envelopes, and everything in between … but perhaps not anything larger. So it’s fair to ask the question as to whether a larger brochure size will help your association gain more attention from your target audience

The answer is “possibly.”  But it may not be worth the cost.

The idea behind using a larger size format is that it will:

– Make the piece stick out in a stack of mail

– Add some novelty to the piece

– Allow for more creative and attention-getting design

If there was no cost penalty for using the larger size, it might be an easy choice.  However, oversize pieces often have a higher price associated with them due to printing inefficiency, or greater use of paper, or higher postage, or a combination of these items.  As as result, oversize pieces often cost more than conventionally-sized pieces even though they might both deliver the same amount of information.

The only way to be certain in your association is to do a single-variable test between two pieces that essentially vary only in size, and to the extent it is needed for the size change, the layout.  It could be argued that the oversize piece inherently allows for greater creativity and better graphic design, so you may also wish to allow that factor to enter into your test if those graphic designs truly could not be incorporated into the conventionally-sized pieces.

To some extent, this test has already been done for you.  That is because the hundreds of direct mail catalogs tend to do testing of this nature frequently and rigorously.  If there is more money to be made in using oversized pieces, they would know – and they would use them.  The very fact that oversize pieces would stand out in the crowd does tell you that the crowd doesn’t believe they are worth the cost.  You can then infer that oversize pieces may not pay out for your association either.

Does your association use oversize printed pieces in its marketing?  Have you tested them versus conventionally-sized pieces and found them to be worth any extra cost?

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