Direct Group Enters Exclusive Agreement for Direct Marketing Use of Linguistics Technology to Increase Response Rates
Press release from the issuing company
Pennington, N.J. - April 24, 2007 - Direct Group, a full-service provider
of high-volume, high-quality direct marketing services, announced today that
it has entered into an exclusive agreement with Language Technologies, Inc.
(LTI) for the use of its patented ReadSmart(R) technology in direct marketing.
ReadSmart software formats text to make it easier to read, increasing
reader comprehension and enjoyment. The technology also affords the ability
to mate the formatting process to the printing and personalization stages of
direct marketing production. Already tested successfully by Direct Group and
LTI in fundraising direct mail programs, the technology has also proven
successful in studies conducted with colleges, print media companies and
ReadSmart automatically formats text through subtle manipulation of the
text so that the printed page reflects the phrasing structure of language.
This makes the text easier to read, maintaining the overall normal appearance
of the page without changing any words, fonts, grammar, or punctuation. The
software can also customize formatting depending on certain demographics of
intended readers, further increasing the appeal and impact of copy.
The ReadSmart technology is the result of more than 30 years of research
and development. Testing has delivered results that suggest the technology
can deliver benefits to direct marketers:
-- Half of the direct mail pieces of a well-known national nonprofit organization's 160,000-person fundraising campaign were formatted using ReadSmart. Results showed that the ReadSmart pieces produced 54 percent more net revenue, 38 percent larger average contributions and 11 percent more first-time respondents than regularly formatted direct mail.
-- A major consumer magazine's direct-mail sweepstakes offer using ReadSmart technology was rated by readers as 39 percent more convincing than the same offer without the use of ReadSmart.
-- College students in a computer course earned 69 percent more honors grades and experienced 40 percent fewer failures with ReadSmart-formatted textbooks than with standard textbooks.
-- A franchise-investment direct mail test using ReadSmart generated 40 percent more responses compared to pieces using standard formatting.
-- Tests focused on gauging general reading improvements have shown that the software improves reading comprehension by 15 to 25 percent, reading speed by 20 percent and reading persuasiveness and enjoyment by more than 30 percent.
"We believe ReadSmart holds great promise to increase readership and
response and improve overall ROI for a wide variety of direct marketing
campaigns," said Don McKenzie, President and CEO of Direct Group. "At Direct
Group we are constantly working to identify and implement forward-looking
options to boost production efficiency, reduce cycle time and lower postal
expense, and we look forward to ReadSmart providing us another unique way to
help our customers improve response rates, affording them a marked improvement
in their cost per response."
McKenzie also noted that this could be "the right solution at the right
time for the industry." He noted that the 2005 DMA Annual Business Review
concluded that the top concern of marketers was the economy, and the second
most commonly cited response was marketing issues such as response rates. In
2006, however, the ranking of those two flipped and 22 percent of respondents
were most concerned with marketing issues such as response rates.
Jonathan Staples, president of fundraising agency Stuart Grey, based in
Frederick, Md., has successfully used ReadSmart in a number of direct
marketing campaigns. "We were skeptical at first, but after several tests we
were astounded by the results," said Staples. "We continue to use the
technology and our clients continue to reap the benefits."
ReadSmart was developed by Dr. Thomas Bever, Founder, Chairman and
Technical Director of LTI. Dr. Bever has been a central figure in the
creation of psycholinguistic science. He has taught at Columbia University
and Rockefeller University, and headed the Cognitive Sciences Department at
the University of Rochester. A former Junior Fellow at Harvard with a Ph.D.
from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Bever and several colleagues
formed LTI in 2001 to more fully develop the ReadSmart technology.
"We are excited about working with the Direct Group team to apply the
ReadSmart technology in the direct marketing arena," said Dr. Bever. "After
working closely with their management team, we are confident that Direct Group
is the right partner for us, and that they will be able to add value to their
clients' campaigns using our technology."
Lee Berendt, CEO of LTI, added: "We are particularly happy to be working
with Direct Group given its leadership position in the direct marketing
industry. In addition, due to the industry's focus on tracking and analyzing
data regarding the results of their programs, we believe ReadSmart will be a
value-added tool to help direct marketers design more successful acquisition
and retention campaigns."
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