HELPLINE SERVICE

VIDEOS BY POST



Q: Can you recommend a company for mailing video cassettes?



A: Ultralite Video offers a lightweight VHS cassette that can be mailed

for the cost of an ordinary letter.



The case is made from recycled polystyrene and weighs 42g. You can get

about 15 minutes of recording time plus label, sleeve and shrinkwrap

under the 60g limit, although in most cases seven minutes is

sufficient.



This will cost 19p, or less if you take advantage of the 20% volume

discount offered by Royal Mail. That is a saving of 35p over the cost of

mailing a conventional VHS cassette. Even companies that deliver the

tapes direct to consumers' homes can benefit as it is more economical to

carry.



The format was launched in the US two years ago. Surveys show that nine

out of ten recipients actually watch the videos, and there is a sixfold

increase in response compared with letters.



Clients have included Anglian Home Improvements, which sent out 70,000

tapes for a conservatory promotion, and Universal Music, which has used

video to publicise new releases. Video is also ideal for travel

companies, which use it to reach those booking holidays.



Ultralite will carry out the duplication from your master tape, print

the labels and sleeves, shrinkwrap and deliver to you or your mailing

house.



The cost for 10,000 is 55p, or 69p if you want full-colour printing.



For the minimum quantity of 1000 the cost is 75p without colour sleeve,

£1.35 with. Call 01932 841111; www.ultralitevideo.com.



BOOKS FOR BEACH



Q: Can you suggest any general books on management and marketing for

holiday reading?



A: A new title recommended by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM)

is Futureconsumer.com by Frank Feather (Capstone, £18.99, ISBN

1841121673).



This predicts how the internet will dominate our lives even more than it

does now and offers strategies for advertising and branding.



If you are looking for inspiration, CIM suggests Change Activist by

Carmel McConnell (Momentum, £15.00, ISBN 1843040034). This gives

some ideas about how to achieve personal fulfilment in your life and

work.



Also look at Diversity Incorporated by Ron Johnson and David Redmond

(FT/Prentice Hall, £21.99, ISBN 0273650475), which describes how

to alchemise an excellent team from the raw elements of individual

workers. The CIM describes it as "essential HR knowledge, but readable

and thought-provoking".



All of the above are available from CIM Direct. Call 01628 427427 or

e-mail cimdirect@cim.co.uk (postage costs are £3 for the first

book, then £1.50 each).



One popular title you could look at is The New Marketing Manifesto by

John Grant (Texere Publishing, £16.99, ISBN 0752821067), which

takes a close look at the emergence of brands as "surrogate traditions"

in the modern world.



Another might be We, Me, Them and It by John Simmons (Texere Publishing,

£12.99, ISBN 1587990458), which shows how to use language

effectively to communicate your offer. Both these books are available

from Amazon in the UK (www.amazon.co.uk).



IMAGE ENHANCER



Q: Is there a facility that will let users magnify images of the

products we advertise on our web site?



A: MGI's Interactive Imaging Suite is a software package that enables

you to create high-resolution, zoomable images. The goodies include

360-degree photo panoramas, three-D spin-nable objects and virtual

tours. This 'immersive imaging' helps make web sites user-friendly and

entertaining, as well as giving better visual inform-ation. MGI's own

site gives an idea of how the zoom facility works. It has examples of

panoramic views created by joining photos.



Clients have included travel group TUI, Gap, NineWest.com and

Porsche.



Zoomable images are said to have helped fashion retailer NineWest cut

online returns by 50% and raise sales by 30%.



The software costs £999 including VAT. Contact 01908 278100;

www.mgieurope.com.



Helpline



E-mail enquiries should be sent to marketing.helpline@haynet.com.



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