Call them guided missives: Natural Ovens of Manitowoc, in Wisconsin, packs a one-page newsletter with every loaf of bread. Pete's Brewing, a microbrewer based in Palo Alto, Calif., tucks a minicatalog into each six-pack.
The companies reach customers when they are most receptive. They also save on postage and production. Natural Ovens prints its newsletter on the flip side of its bread label, which is folded lengthwise inside the loaf's plastic bag. Each week's issue includes health tips, recipes, and letters from consumers. "Thousands of people have called in response to the newsletter," reports Barbara Stitt, co-owner of the bakery, which sells to 1,200 supermarkets. Increasing the label size to fit the newsletter raised costs only a half cent a loaf, but overall, printing the newsletter on the label saves her $1,000 an issue.
In a bookmark-size catalog that unfolds to 13 inches, Pete's Brewing, an $11-million microbrewer, tells beer lovers about its sideline of T-shirts and mugs. Like other modern catalogs, Wicked Ware lists an 800 number, and in two years orders have climbed to 1,200 a month. Pete's Brewing also passes out the profitable catalog at beer tastings. Talk about reaching customers when they're feeling good.* * *