Recently in Direct Mail Category

Marketers have successfully used direct mail to sell just about every product and service you can imagine, at just about every price you can imagine as well.

So if you're taking a look at direct mail to sell your own product or service, you're on the right track.

But let's back up a step. In order to sell, you need customers. Happily, there is no better medium than direct mail for finding potential customers -- and for turning them into paying ones.

Four advantages unique to direct mail make this possible:

1. Direct mail is targeted. Want to reach prospects within five miles (or more!) of your location? There's a mailing list. Want to reach people who buy sweaters? There's a list. People whose demographics and interests resemble those of customers you already have? Yes, there's a list.

This targeting ability is extremely valuable. If your product or service applies to, say, one in 100 people, using mass media to reach all 100 people wastes 99¢ of every dollar you spend. Direct mail lets you target the one, effectively multiplying the power of your advertising 100 times -- without costing you a penny extra.

2. Direct mail is interactive. It is a medium that can call people by name on first contact. Moreover, direct mail creates dialog, by letting people reply to you. That way, you can build and mine a database of customers, along with their interests, habits and purchases.

3. Direct mail cannot be ignored. There is one way for people to sort mail: by looking at it. So when your direct mail communicates a benefit and a strong brand, you're getting your message across to 100 percent of your target.

4. People like mail. At work and at home, people look forward to receiving and looking through their mail. That can't be said for all marketing mediums.

For the 5 Most Fascinating Stories in Franchising, a weekly report, click here & sign up.

Direct Mail Advertising: Thinking Outside the (Mail)Box


In a world where smartphones and tablets have become mission critical devices in the daily lives of consumers, it has become more popular than ever among marketers to advertise in the digital space, be it email, web, mobile, etc.

As the media spend continues to increase in this category, money continues to be shifted away from print as advertisers declare "print is dead." While print-based mass media is most assuredly on the decline in both circulation and ad spend (think newspaper and magazines), another form of "print" continues to thrive and is even enjoying a bit of a resurgence - direct mail.

The total spend in direct mail was on the rise in 2014. Against a prediction of 1.1%, the Winterberry Group reported spending up 2.7% last year as advertisers spent more than $45 billion in the category.

Why the increase? Because direct mail remains effective and with an infusion of digital technology in recent years, is more impactful than ever.

The days of carpet bombing "junk mail" are over. Savvy marketers are now thinking outside of the typical boundaries of the mailbox. As a result, their direct mail pieces serve both as key standalone vehicles as well as prime complementers to other broadcast and digital channels.

Whether you are choosing direct mail as an advertising vehicle for the first time, or revamping an existing program, here are a few tips to take advantage of that will make your spend more efficient and your program more effective:

Complement Digital Programs

Direct mail stands alone from digital channels and reaches consumers outside of their phone/tablet/computer.

It also provides the perfect vehicle to tie the two together. It goes without saying that creative and messaging between direct mail and digital should complement one another, but by utilizing QR codes and digital activation programs, the mail piece can be made to come alive and drive the consumer to web sites, online videos, social media and other digital assets.

The End of "One Version Fits All"

The printing process itself has benefited from digital technology in recent years.

Gone are the days of printing plates and expensive version changes that come from the world of offset printing.

Digital printing, (essentially a high quality, high speed version of that color printer/copier that may already be in your office), has advanced to the point that speed and cost is rivaling the traditional offset world.

Why is this important? There are no longer costly limitations on versions, allowing the advertiser to tailor offers, graphics, etc. to the household level. It is now possible for every household in a neighborhood to receive a different offer, addressed specifically to them by name using whatever graphics or fonts a designer can dream up. The industry label for this is Variable Data Printing, and it's a lot easier and cheaper than you might think.

Explore New Materials

Plastics, magnetics, decals - all viable media for a direct mail piece.

They may be more expensive than paper, but to get your message to stand out, there is nothing better.

Plastics in particular are becoming more popular as conventional couponing can take on the look, feel and functionality of a gift or loyalty card. The shiny, glass-like finish stands out in the mailbox and gets noticed among stacks of paper postcards, envelopes and catalogs.

The gift card look and feel has a perceived cash value by the consumer, and the durability of the media allows it to be retained for an extended period of time for later or repeated use. Magnetic stripes and barcodes further the functionality, integrating the mailer with a retailer's point of sale or loyalty system and making response tracking easier than ever.

From Carpet Bombing to Precision Targeting

It is no longer necessary to cover entire zip codes in a "carpet bomb" approach when mailing.

With the ever increasing cost of postage, it is imperative that you target precisely where your best prospects live and work in order to avoid wasted coverage and expense.

One zip code can house drastically different demographic groups within its borders, so even though the zip code may make sense from a geographic standpoint, there may be hundreds of households draining your budget with every mailing.

Look beyond zip code geography and analyze the postal carrier routes contained within each one.

Then let the demographics do the talking. You will be surprised at what you find. If your business is lucky enough to have a customer database to draw from (as many automotive service retailers and fitness clubs do), use this information to build your ideal customer profile.

Find out where your current customers are coming from, then match the demographics of those areas to others within your geography. "Fish where the fish are" so to speak. You'll find the fishing is a whole lot better when you're fishing at the right lake.

Direct mail remains an effective advertising vehicle, whether it's the foundation of your marketing program or complementing other efforts.

Call it old fashioned, outmoded or any one of the various adjectives associated with "print" these days, but the fact remains - it works.

The tried and true aspects of the media remain, while the production methods, media options and targeting strategies are better than ever before.

Defining your goals is the first and most important part of your social media strategy. If you don't know why you're doing what you're doing, how in the world can you expect it to be successful?

In your business, there is likely some deeper "why" that motivates your team to succeed. It's not only the financial reward but something greater that inspires great things. The same is true for social media.

If you approach social media engagement with only the sales in mind, you're missing out on the deeper purpose. You're missing out on the opportunity to bring real value to your audience and to help them in a "no strings attached" kind of way.

If you can approach social engagement from a place that puts your customer first, then the results can be very powerful indeed. Some goals to consider might be:

  • Bring added value to our audience
  • Connect with a wider audience
  • Strengthen customer loyalty
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Connect with advocates and supporters
  • Boost brand credibility
  • Increase audience trust
  • Build relationships with your target market

Then you also have to consider what that primary "action" goal for business will be on social channels. As you begin to achieve the above goals, identify the main action you want your audience to take that will lead to customer conversions:

  • Sign up for newsletter list
  • Purchase products
  • Come in to your store
  • Visit your website
  • Call you

Your goals will dictate what pages you setup, what content you use and how you engage with your audience. So, spend the time you need to consider what you really want. It's the foundation you need for social media success.

What's New in Direct Mail & Franchising?


I have been in the direct mail industry for over 34 years.

During that time many of my clients have asked me what the most significant part of a successful marketing campaign is.

I always answer that the most important ingredient in any direct mail campaign is pre-qualifying your prospects and selecting the correct database for your franchise. There are many ways to prequalify your prospects either by: neighborhood, age, income, children in household, lifestyle, hobbies to name a few.

But your best source of knowledge is your current consumer database.

It is extremely important to keep your customer database up to date and keeping your data consistent. If your mail house is able, you need to have them pull a radius report around your business location and merge your current client list into the report.

The mail house should be able to provide you with a spreadsheet outlining for you exactly what neighborhoods your current clients are coming from. Remember your best new clients are usually a mirror image of your existing clients.

Once you select the neighborhoods you want to target have your mail house suppress your present consumers this way you are achieving a true new customer acquisition mailing and not just mailing to the same people who are already frequenting your franchise.

The old carpet bomb approach to direct mail is in the past.

People have become conditioned to just toss these types of direct mail vehicles into the trash and not even take a second look, that is why your response rates are dismal.

Direct Mail is still the best way for a franchise to reach your target audience and stay within your marketing budget. Take the time to find the right direct mail vehicle and mailing list to increase response rate by 2 to 3x your normal returns.

We also have fantastic direct mail vehicle that has an incredible 96% read rate out of mail box. It is called Impact Mailers and they are actually plastic post cards with snap out gift/loyalty cards which are getting tremendous response for many franchise verticals. Check them out. Hope this information helps you achieve your marketing goals.

For the 5 Most Fascinating Stories in Franchising, a weekly report, click here & sign up.

I don't know about round your way ...

But the competition for my takeaway spend is huge.

And nowhere more than amongst the pizza companies.

So when this dropped through my door, it got me thinking.


Here's what you see before you get to the menu.

8 offers; lunchtime, early week, all week, online, for families, for individuals, for collection and delivery.

Which one do you think works best?

I have no idea. But I'll bet you 1 thing:

If Domino's marketing department is worth its salt, they're testing every single one.

Because if they're not, they're leaving dough (sorry) on the table.

Now let's take a look at the other side ...


So what's good about this side?

Well, here are 2 things I spotted:

  • Prominent offer.

  • Lots of different ways to order - the more ways you give people to get in touch, the more that will.

Although I'd have started with phone, web and shop. Not Facebook and Twitter.

I think they could have shown a better, more enticing pizza though. Don't you?

Compare this pitiful pepperoni with the far more appealing pizza on the front cover.

Looks a lot nicer doesn't it?

And what on earth is the wheelying scooter rider, menacingly waving a pizza box all about?

He's certainly not the chap I want delivering my dinner. Do they actually employ such hooligans?

But the piece on this page which - hands down - wins my wrath is The Domino's Promise.

I can't stand the opening line:

The most insanely delicious pizzas

After all, what does a pizza have to do with losing your marbles?

But at least it is a promise of sorts.

Unlike the rest of the drivel they then write. Such as:

Intrepid delivery drivers

For goodness sake. These people aren't delivering under enemy shelling. Or at risk from snipers.

They're bringing my food to my house. I know people say the area's gone downhill a bit recently ... but intrepid? Really?

Now what about your marketing?

Are you testing offers ... giving people lots of ways to get in touch ...

... or are you banging on about your intrepid delivery drivers?

Maybe you'd like my help?

If you would - and it can be with any part of your marketing - just email me.

You won't get a stream of autoresponder messages. Just me getting in touch with you.

And please remember, you're not committed to anything if you do.

So why not do it right now?

If you liked this, you should sign up for the LinkedIn Marketing & Advertising Tips from Franchise-Info newsletter.

Or, for more information on the Franchise-Info Business Directory, call Joe at 1-443-502-2636 or email Joe direct [email protected]

We live in a world that is full of marketing noise and competing mediums that are all bombarding an ever so jaded consumer.

They have mail boxes full of what marketers perceive as campaigns and they perceive as SPAM.  Social media has become such a labyrinth that it is hard to keep messaging consistent across platforms and therefore brand confusion becomes reality.    

Mass media does not target audiences in a way that is meaningful anymore and the app that you create is designed far more to show your audience you are innovative than provide any real ongoing marketing or branding opportunities.

So what is the next medium that will help you cut through the noise and have your brand perceived as valuable and your call to action acted upon?

Technology has reached a point where this process is a viable option for not just the Fortune 50 businesses. Consider the impact this will have on your customers when opened. Yes, per piece it is a more expensive option than traditional direct mail, but the ROI in terms of conversion is much higher.

Consider this is a tactic to go after a specific vertical and segment of the market. Those to whom you want to demonstrate the higher value, higher margin aspects of your business.

If this is a market segment you are looking to focus on and have the product or service that lends itself to create high value creative, let us help Get YOU Noticed!

Question: How do you sell luxury watches and some of the finest clothes in the world?

Answer: Through the mail, of course.

How about a 24-day, $66,950 private jet excursion?

Same answer.

The prestigious, exclusive travel company uses direct mail to get the message out about its luxurious trips by private jet, where consumers can travel around the world and explore ancient civilizations.

To attract high-end customers, the company mails a 20-page packet complete with vivid pictures and detailed trip information. A representative from the exclusive travel company said, “We know from our travelers that the print catalog is still a piece that is very much valued. Many of our travelers use our catalogs to browse and get ideas and then may opt to book by phone or make their reservation online, so direct mail is very much an important part of our overall strategy.”

Direct Mail’s Three Distinct Advantages

“Marketing through direct mail affords three distinct advantages,” says Kirk Swain, principal,

  • First, direct mail allows luxury retailers to specifically target buyers by income level, so they can extend offers exclusively to individuals who are financially able to accept those offers.
  • Second, commodities with a high single-transaction value are well suited to direct mail, as low response rates aren’t an issue when fewer sales are needed to offset the expense of the mailing.
  • Third, direct mail can provide access to data, allowing retailers to identify people who may have purchased the same or similar items in the past, and send them a letter.

Upscale Department Stores Choose Mail

A look at how luxury-oriented department stores incorporate direct mail into their marketing mix finds an array of techniques to pull in consumers and showcase the quality of their merchandise:

  • Direct mail serves as the focal point of a prominent depatrment store’s multichannel campaign that features barcodes, online, mobile, social media and catalog touch points. The company has placed mobile barcodes on almost every page of its women’s and men’s catalogs, which allow consumers to learn more about the new styles featured in the catalog. Additionally, underneath each QR Code, there is an SMS call to action.
  • A two-part catalog with up-and-coming design students, models, actors and musicians from New York showcases a department store’s urban, edgy spirit. The first part consists of the new crop of New Yorkers modeling collections, while the second part is purely to showcase products. The catalog is made with a thicker-weight paper and is bound. Its unique fold-out mechanism is also helpful to differentiate the catalog from other retailers.
  • Mail steers consumers to another luxury retail chain’s blog, mobile site, stores and website using touch points in its catalog. The retailer implements calls-to-action to its blog via barcodes while also drawing consumers to its store to check out the season’s newest looks. The catalog is double-sided and includes editorial, interviews and fashion analysis.
  • One luxury watchmaker mails two types of print catalogs — an 18-page catalog for women and a 150-page catalog of products and history — to convey an attitude of elegance and to engage both returning and new consumers in a way that fully showcases the brand’s diverse audience around the world.

Mail Prep

George Eddy, president of Denver-based Heinrich Marketing, tells the story of trying to convince the administrators at an exclusive private school to use direct mail to attract new students.

“At first, they looked at me as if I had a third eye,” he says.

The school had been using soft-sell radio ads for student recruitment, similar to the efforts of its primary competitor in the market. Heinrich Marketing pulled together a campaign with 3-D high-end mailers at an average cost of $8 to $10 per piece.

The mailings were targeted. One appeal reached well-to-do parents of students already enrolled in private schools. Another targeted wealthy parents with students in public schools. Each mailing included a DVD and a more direct appeal than the radio commercials offered.

“It worked,” says Eddy. “We were able to boost enrollment far beyond what the radio campaign could do.”

It’s 2012, and the media landscape is more fractured than ever. More than 900 million people are using Facebook, including your grandmother. It’s also an age of Twitter and LinkedIn, texting and mobile apps. Even personal computers suddenly have become yesterday’s news. Now, lives revolve around smartphones and tablets. Yet, as crowded as the media space has become, direct mail still manages to not only fit, but remain a focal point for smart CMOs everywhere. Through it all, the staying power of direct mail remains undiminished.

A recent study by ExactTarget, an international company that specializes in interactive marketing, helps illustrate direct mail’s continued relevance. The survey asked consumers to indicate how they would like to receive 11 different types of messages. A headline in ExactTarget’s 2012 Channel Preference Survey screams the results: “DIRECT MAIL LIVES!”

Survey Echoes Recent Research

The ExactTarget study gathered detailed input from 1,481 consumers of all ages on how they prefer to receive various types of information. The choices:

• E-mail • Direct mail • Telephone • Text messaging • Mobile app • Social media

Out of 11 different categories of marketing messages, direct mail was chosen as the most acceptable means of communication in four categories, tied with e-mail as most acceptable in two others, and came in a close second behind e-mail in another four categories.

According to the survey, 65 percent of consumers have made a purchase as a result of a direct mail piece. The survey report provided the following analysis: “In the face of always-on channels like e-mail, SMS and social networks, consumers appreciate direct mail’s tangibility, flexibility and once-a-day pace. It also remains the only channel where unsolicited messages are acceptable to a majority of consumers.”

Other recent surveys on consumer preference provided similar results:

• In 2011, Epsilon, a multichannel marketing service, surveyed nearly 5,000 consumers, including more than 2,200 in the United States. More than one-third expressed a preference for direct mail over the multitude of other channels. Of those surveyed, 60 percent said going to the mailbox and receiving a piece of mail provided an emotional boost. Consumers said they found mail to be more trustworthy than other forms of communication. The study found that the preference for mail extended to the 18- to 34-year-old demographic as well.

• In 2010, a Durham+Company survey found direct mail to be twice as effective as e-mail for soliciting donations online. Further underlining the importance of direct mail to motivate online giving, 37 percent who give online say that when they receive a direct mail appeal from a charity, they use the charity’s website to give the donation.

So what is the reason for direct mail’s staying power? We sought the views of seven experts, including the author of the ExactTarget study: Jeffrey Rohrs, vice president, Marketing Research and Education of the Indianapolis-based company. Here’s what they told us …

Denver-based Heinrich Marketing likes to think of itself as the CSI of the marketing world, asking the tough questions before getting the creative department involved. Heinrich managing director Laura Sonderup says the research has shown that mail continues to be one of the most cost-effective methods for targeting that any marketer can deploy: “In many instances, mail allows us to localize lead generation far more efficiently than other marketing channels — down to the census tract and neighborhood level when necessary. Our largest clients insist that direct mail be included in their marketing plans as a means of maximizing budgets and increasing return on investment.”

1. Mail Is Tangible

Direct mail, says Jeffrey Rohrs of ExactTarget, “provides a tangible experience that digital media does not replicate. And in a world of hyper-fragmentation of communication channels, where you can get a phone call, text, e-mail, post on Facebook, message on Twitter, message on apps, there’s something about mail and how it cuts through the digital clutter that remains attractive to consumers.”

Jamie Matusek, marketing director of Austin, Texas–based QuantumDigital, echoes that view: “From a consumer perspective, yes, the majority of us have mobile device in hand 24/7 — but there is something to be said about a targeted mail piece and offer from a company I do business with. It’s a great way to help in making bigger decisions like home improvement projects, or even just getting an invitation to try a new restaurant in my local neighborhood. Mail tends to break through the digital noise for a bit and offers a moment for a targeted message to resonate. Plus, it offers a great way for businesses to focus on local neighborhood marketing, hitting potential customers who are close to home.”

2. Mail Integrates Well

Says Jeffrey Rohrs of ExactTarget: “As I look at our 2012 survey compared to our 2008 survey, the real story is that we have multichannel consumers due to the explosion of devices, so you’d better have cross-channel communication strategies. You need to be integrating your channels so that you can influence your consumers in different ways. This is where direct mail can work hand-in-glove with e-mail and social media. There will always be a place for channels that break the mold and pleasantly surprise consumers.”

3. People Like Opening Mail

Part of the power of mail, adds ExactTarget’s Jeffrey Rohrs, lies in the mundane consumer ceremony of padding to the mailbox each day: “There’s a moment every day where folks go to the mailbox, and they take that brief respite and they look at what they’ve received. It is a ritual. It goes beyond habit. It is part of what people do. And those marketers who can get there cost-effectively and creatively will continue to have an opportunity to differentiate themselves and their brand in interesting ways that will produce a return on investment.”

4. There’s Less Competition in Direct Mail

Jon Yokogawa, vice president of consumer engagement for interTrend, a full-service communications agency in Long Beach, Calif., contends that the technology age has actually boosted the impact of direct mail. “Your e-mail inbox is the new mailbox, filled with bills, letters from friends, family and work,” he says. “So the amount of paper in your mailbox is less. Therefore, you would be more inclined to look more carefully at any type of mail that you do receive from the Postal Service.™”

Content marketing expert Joe Pulizzi, the founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Cleveland, and the largest content marketing event, Content Marketing World, warns marketers against becoming too “infatuated” with other channels, as mail continues to get the job done. “For certain goals like getting immediate attention, direct mail is perfect,” says Pulizzi. “There’s so much less competition in the print channel these days, the opportunity to get noticed is probably as great as it’s been in decades.”

5. Mail Builds Loyalty

Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute by underscores the value that mail has in cultivating loyalty and brand evangelism among consumers. “We know from our research at the Content Marketing Institute that only about 30 percent of our customers create and distribute a custom magazine, but we think there’s great opportunity in that channel to build loyalty,” he says. “Social media is selective. It’s hard to get on that must-read list. If you just go through any airport and walk around, you’ll see all the electronic devices and, at the same time, you’ll still see younger Millennials who are holding magazines, especially females, because it’s still such a visual, tactile media.”

6. Mail Is More Sophisticated Now

Jon Yokogawa of interTrend points out that the evolution of mail messaging — from the refinement of offers to new personalization tools — has also buoyed the channel and confirmed its ongoing relevance: “The sophistication of mail messaging has greatly improved over the years. Top companies use the platform, and that builds credibility. Nowadays, direct mail is not just for the remnant budgets of smaller clients. Many industries see this form of marketing as a proven medium, having better and actual measurements (ROI) than traditional TV, print, outdoor advertising or radio.”

Louis Maldonado, managing director of New York-based d expósito & partners, an agency specializing in integrated communications, including direct mail, points out how the digital age has added to mail’s power, introducing elements such as QR Codes, augmented reality and SnapTags to mail marketing: “Direct marketing has experienced a resurgence of excitement given the new technologies and tools available now. The increased targetability of e-mail and mobile channels, as well as the enhanced engagement and dialogue opportunities afforded through social media, serve to complement and fuel response rates to the tried-and-true channels, like direct mail and DRTV.”

7. Mail Helps You Target

Denver-based Heinrich Marketing likes to think of itself as the CSI of the marketing world, asking the tough questions before getting the creative department involved. Heinrich managing director Laura Sonderup says the research has shown that mail continues to be one of the most cost-effective methods for targeting that any marketer can deploy: “In many instances, mail allows us to localize lead generation far more efficiently than other marketing channels — down to the census tract and neighborhood level when necessary. Our largest clients insist that direct mail be included in their marketing plans as a means of maximizing budgets and increasing return on investment.”

8. Mail Delivers Results

Whatever its evolution, direct mail ultimately continues to resonate with marketers for one primary reason: It gets results. Robert Salta, owner of Maryland-based and a 30-year direct marketing veteran, has strong views about mail’s staying power: “It’s all about results. Direct mail works,” he says. “The majority of people will open and read direct mail, but often will choose to ignore e-mail solicitations. The fundamentals of direct mail haven’t changed, partly because their efficacy has been proven time after time. What has changed is the advent of data and digital print technology, and both have benefited direct mail immeasurably.”


Creating a 3-D mailer that looks and feels like an old-school circus ring did the trick for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. The challenge of marketing the circus is making the familiar and well-loved feel fresh and new, says John Frazee, vice president of marketing of Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey® at Feld Entertainment.

As Frazee explains, these days the general public is bombarded by unsolicited e-mails, regular mail and phone calls. So the flyer had to be eye catching and sent not just to a general audience, but to people who in the past have attended the circus and would most likely have interest and enjoy going to a new show.

The flyer sent through the mail was the best way to reach this select group. It was meant to get people to gain interest in the show and to get them energized that they would help spread the word via word of mouth to others.

The mailer, designed and created by Structural Graphics, a firm based in Essex, Conn., was sent to a carefully targeted group of 2,000 loyal fans in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. “These were people who were existing customers and loyal circus arts enthusiasts,” Frazee explains.

To make clear to them that the event in question was something new and different — the 200th anniversary of P.T. Barnum’s birthday — meant signaling this with an extraordinary piece of direct mail.

“Every year, we have a new circus,” he explains. But because circus fans tend to assume things never change, when in fact the show is all-new, the brand works to design distinctive ways to signal that something different is coming to town, and well worth another visit.

Getting the Message Out

Another reason for going all-out on that mailer’s design is that the event was being held at Madison Square Garden, in the heart of Manhattan, attracting significant media attention. “Madison Square Garden has traditionally attracted heightened media coverage, and so the types of materials we produce become a media focus in themselves,” Frazee says.

He notes news releases were sent to the media, and the fact it was an anniversary show made the performance even more newsworthy. To ensure as much interest and attendance in the show as possible, the direct mail flyer was used as an integral part of a multifaceted advertising and public relations campaign.

Frazee says the brand chose mail because they knew they had to reach a specific audience of loyal circus patrons.

“It was a beautiful piece and an expense we undertook to make our target audience feel special. It really was a collector’s piece. We want people to get things that are unique, and we wanted to make this piece a special invitation.”

“Loyal circus customers are important to us, as loyal customers are to any brand, and we always try to cater to them because they deserve special attention,” Frazee says. “Our loyalists are treated with perks, as in any loyalist program. Loyalists generally attend the circus three to five times in a five-year period. Many have consistently gone to the circus over their lifetime, maybe 12–15 times or more in 30 years.”

The mailer fit the campaign as part of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s overall portal and served as a keepsake for the event.

Frazee says the mailer helps the circus retain a great deal of its fan base from year to year, while there are also many new customers every year.

“We did get a tremendous amount of response to the piece itself, people calling and writing and coming up to staff at the show. People told us ‘This was phenomenal!’ It really had a great feel to it, and we got lots of e-mails thanking us for it.”

          What Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Sent

The piece, a shadowbox that mailed flat but became three dimensional by pulling on two side tabs, “was unique like most of the work we do,” said Michael Dambra, vice president of creative services at Structural Graphics.

“It’s very engaging. When we’re looking at mailings we always look for something that will mail flat, but perform in some way and will offer a ‘Wow!’ factor.”

“What we really try to do is create surprise and some form of engagement. With online marketing you don’t have tactile engagement, something you can hold.”

When customers opened the circus mailer, “a childlike fantasy takes place,” Dambra explains.

“The charm was already built into this. When we decide whether to use movement or electronics, we try not to make the mechanism a gimmick.”

Using pieces that are an unusual shape or size is often enough to grab a busy customer’s attention, he says.

“I know that our work can stop a reader. It’s always the first thing to get opened.”

 Attention-Grabbing Mailers

Grabbing your customers’ attention with a well-designed and highly memorable piece of direct mail means making a few decisions, advises Dambra. “It’s not either or when you choose paper versus electronic. It’s both. Smart marketers are using integrated plans. A lot of what we do is meant to drive traffic to a website.”

Dambra evangelizes for paper, especially in a time when customers’ attention is so often focused on a computer, television or phone screen.

“With a paper marketing piece, you stop. You engage with it. You move to the call to action. It gets attention because it stops the reader.”

The added value of using a mailed piece is that it’s not something that oversaturates. As with any marketing material, “it has to make sense, it has to have a good visual, headline and copy message,” Dambra says.

Smart marketers — as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey demonstrated with their 3-D circus — can choose to use a well-designed and eye-catching paper piece to speak directly and specifically to valued niche customers.

“You can now target three-dimensional pieces to your highest-value prospects,” Dambra says.

Search for Articles

Follow Us

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Direct Mail category.

Books is the previous category.

Measuring is the next category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



Follow Us