What a great event I recently attended! NEDMA (that’s the New England Direct Marketing Association, at www.nedma.com) held an all-day Digital & Direct Mail Marketing Innovations Symposium in Waltham, MA. There were several concurrent sessions with topics including, “Email +”, QR Codes, Advanced Social Media Marketing, and – my favorite – “New Ideas, Formats & Technologies in Direct Mail.” This last one was a lively panel discussion, and the room was packed.
One panelist was Karen McCormick, President of Fulfillment Express in Waltham, MA (www.fulexp.com). Despite technical difficulties (meaning her slides weren’t available), Karen jumped into her presentation – complete with a real mailbox from Home Depot as a cool visual aid – and delivered a ton of good insights about direct mail.
First, some valuable statistics that Karen shared:
- The average person gets 23 pieces of mail per week.
PS: Karen counts the pieces of mail she gets every day. Raise your hand if you do.
- Her customers are saying that mail stands out, when you consider how much email everyone gets. Inparticular, she’s hearing this from young alumni, who pointedly told her, “Don’t email us if it’s really important – MAIL us.”
- 79% of all households read/scan the mail they get.
- 67% of consumers feel that mail is more personal than the internet.
Karen then shared the following list of 7 direct mail attributes that we, as marketers and graphic arts professionals, need to keep front and center.
I don’t recall her name for this list, but I’m calling them:
How Direct Mail Packs a Punch in 7 Ways
Direct mail is….
- Intrusive – Karen showed a sample of The Boston Conservatory’s view book. I didn’t have a ruler handy, but this beauty was MASSIVE. Talk about eye-catching.
- Tactile – Her sample for Bentley University’s promotional piece was mailed in a glassine envelope (and it also had a QR code on the cover).
- Targeted – This sample was for the Girl Scouts, who we learned are doing a major rebranding, and who use a lot of direct mail. Again, they used QR codes, and they have different versions of pieces they mail out to different market segments.
- Varied – A sample for the Rivers School annual appeal piece was anything but a boring #10. It had interesting folds with an insert at the heart of the piece. The school produced about 15 lots. Some were stamped and went first class; others were mailed at the nonprofit rate.
- Measurable – Several postcard samples from different customers were shown. One, from National Tire Battery, used codes and coupons. They mail out postcards regularly. Responses from these pieces are totally measurable.
- Personalized – If you don’t know by now that with variable data printing technology you can personalize copy as well as graphics on direct mail pieces, I don’t know what to say.
- Effective – The most amazing sample Karen held up was a gorgeous box a client produced for a small mailing – about 500. Inside the outer box was an elegant and simple white box, wrapped in a blue ribbon. Inside this was a personalized letter, brochure, and a picture frame. This campaign, though costly to produce, sold $1 million worth of business for the client.
The upshot? People want something they can hold onto and touch. Direct mail doesn’t have to be ho hum anymore. Find ways to make your campaigns memorable. Thanks to Karen, this list will help.
If you want to reach Karen McCormick, call her at 781-684-8200 or email her at Karen@fulexp.com. In coming weeks, I’ll share more insights I learned at this excellent NEDMA event.
© 2011 Margie Dana. All rights reserved. You’re free to forward this email. However, no part of this column may be reprinted without permission from the author.