Irresistible Direct Mail

Who says direct mail has to be boring? Who says direct mail has to produce 1 or 2% response at best? Who says direct mail is a medium of the past? I’ll tell you who – those who are doing the same old, same old direct mail. We’ve all heard Ben Franklin’s quote on the definition of insanity: to do the same thing over and over again, yet expect a different result. Let’s face it, if you are doing the same kind of mailings that you did 3, 5 or even 10 years ago you can expect not just the same response but a significantly lower response. What can you do to make direct mail interesting? Direct mail is often viewed as a type of “push” marketing. Yet if it is performed creatively, direct mail can become a powerful “pull” marketing strategy. We can use direct mail to create “attraction” rather than as a means of “chasing” business. All this can be done without in your face, pushy tactics if we are willing to take a step back and focus on the customer’s challenges rather than become embroiled in our solution. Direct mail is no different than any other marketing medium. If we can focus our communication efforts on not just what the customer wants but rather why they want it, we can align ourselves to the customer and thereby attract them to our solution.
Take the direct mall piece shown below. When it arrived on my doorstep, I had no idea what it was but the 8 x 10 inch envelope with the eye staring at me and the headline: “Ready for a SHOCK? Then open this” did have me wondering. I usually trash this kind of stuff but something about this had me curious. I guess the headlines were right up my alley:
“Jack Welch was wrong. Dead WRONG.” “Next recession in 2011. BE READY.”
“America’s 3rd great MIGRATION has started: $1 trillion dollar opportunity.”
That got me to open the envelope. When I did, I found this was an offer for Peter Drucker Institutes new on-line E report, “TRENDS.” Also in the package was a CD and several inserts. One was a letter customized to me (host at CBS Radio). Also enclosed was a very well done interactive CD, a brochure discussing the problems I face as a radio show host finding accurate time information about business trends, a response card (pre-filled out!), and a discount coupon.

We talk a lot about the rules of attraction and how valuable they are in direct marketing. This mailer included several. Let me list them so that you can build them into your own campaign:

  1. Become a big fish in a smaller pond. It was aimed at business journalists and included information only valuable to them.
  2. The problem is more important than the solution. It focused on numerous problems that we will be facing in the coming decade. Many of the same things I talk about on my radio show and in my weekly articles.
  3. Give information away without selling. It included a FREE subscription for 1 month and the CD which was crammed with 20 excellent articles.
  4. Reverse people;s risk in changing. It had a discount coupon for $100 off.
  5. Don’t be a better option, become the ONLY solution. I don’t know of any organization offering this type of information.
  6. No one has time to read so let design and color speak. As you can see it included compelling graphics, a tasteful layout and colorful design.
  7. Traditional advertising is a HOPE business. This was not your typical mailer. I suspect it cost 2 or 3 times more in production costs than a typical mailer, but was sent to far fewer people, all of whom have a higher interest level in this kind of information.
  8. Learn the discipline of testing. It had a pre-numbered savings code so they could track the response to determine which offer was most successful. I assume they tested numerous solutions.

This is a great example of a powerful, well-conceived marketing device. One particularly good thing about the piece was that it carried much of the message on the envelope itself, motivating me to open it.

Think about ways that you can implement these strategies in your own direct marketing program. If you get stuck, give me a call or send an email and I will do my best to help. Also check out our new program, “Attract More Business” at for a step-by-sep approach on how to do this. The program includes dozens of examples, a 150 page manual and 9 CDs that you can listen to in your car, making it a practical learning tool.

Have a great week! I hope that this “Business Update” has been helpful in assisting you to improve the performance of your organization. For more information on how the Small Business Advisory Network assists companies in improving their performance, please feel free to contact us at 310-320-8190 or 

Mark Deo Print this article.

Posted in Effective Advertising, Uncategorized.

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