DNR to use direct mailing to boost its license sales

Springfield – You soon may open your mailbox to find a postcard
from DNR.

The agency isn’t going on vacation. It’s sending the oversized
postcard in an attempt to lure past anglers into purchasing a
fishing license.

“Basically we’re going after those people who once had a fishing
license but did not renew it,” Lynnette Mick, fisheries outreach
project manager for DNR, said. “We are using data from 2006 and
2007. We’re sending cards to those who had licenses in 2006 but did
not buy a license in 2007.”

The direct mail project will cost the DNR about $25,000, a cost
it hopes to more than recoup by urging or reminding lapsed anglers
to purchase licenses for 2008.

DNR’s cash outlay is being matched by the Recreational Boating
and Fishing Foundation, a national group that works with states to
manage direct marketing campaigns. The foundation’s “lapsed angler
recruitment program” was designed to increase participation in
fishing and boating.

What Illinois residents should expect from the marketing
campaign is a colorful postcard, Mick said.

“We’ve picked out the template and the artwork and we’re just
waiting for all the data,” she said. “We’re hoping the first round
of postcards will go out in May.”

Mick said a second mailing will be sent out later, after results
of the first mailing are known.

State records show that in 2007 it sold 742,722 fishing
licenses. Mick said that the mailing campaign has no set goal, as
far as license sales.

According to RBFF, states participating in the direct marketing
program must have an electronic license database, at least one year
of lapsed angler data and state funds to put the campaign in
motion.

Included in the kit provided by RBFF to the states are direct
mail templates and “proven” direct mail marketing strategies.

Mike Conlin, director of DNR’s Office of Resource Conservation,
said the direct marketing and additional promotional efforts will
help Illinoisans “realize how much fun fishing is – and how
important they are to maintaining and enhancing fishing
opportunities.”

Last month, Conlin addressed the DNR Advisory Committee about
stagnant hunting and fishing licenses sales in the state. At a time
when funding for DNR is in question, Conlin said license and permit
sales were important to the agency’s fiscal condition.

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