Leon Henry Reflects on 50 Years of Insert Media

A lot has changed in the marketing industry since Leon Henry started his business in 1956, especially the acceptance of insert media as a form of marketing.

But 50 years on, Henry, founder/president of the Hartsdale, NY-based list firm that bears his name, says he doesn’t know the tactic’s future.

“If I could predict the future, I’d get out of the business and become a stock broker,” Henry says jokingly. “But it’s been most popular in the past three to five years. So in my point of view, in a way, I see more of that same popularity and growth in the future.”

According to Henry, insert media gained momentum this century for a few reasons. One was the endorsement of the Direct Marketing Association, which in 2003 renamed its Alternate Response Media Council the Insert Media Council. Another was purely economical: As postal rates began rising, marketers saw insert media as a way to piggyback their messages with shipped goods to people who have obviously made a recent catalog or Web purchase. And it’s gained consumer acceptance, Henry says, because of its relatively unobtrusive nature. “It doesn’t rub you in the face the way other media has,” he contends. “Now it’s seen by consumers and marketers as a very good thing.”

Henry estimates that about 1,700 multichannel merchants now accept package inserts, bill stuffers, catalog blow-ins, and other sorts of insert media—far more than when he launched his business in Buffalo, NY. The family-run business is now located in a converted school a half-hour outside of New York.

People and Places
Lacrosse, WI-based Firstlogic, a list and data software and service provider, has hired three industry veterans to newly created positions. Strategic data quality consultant Cheri Mallory had been IT manager of quality data for EchoStar. Peter Deckers, European system engineer, was previously with the European Commission Agricultural Department. Michelle Lindsey, commercial mail product specialist, joins Firstlogic from FreeLance Technologies.

Mark Trombetta has joined White Plains, NY-based list services firm MeritDirect to lead its new Web-based services consultancy, the Interactive Solutions Group. He was most recently president of technology solutions provider Both Worlds Consulting.

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