23, 2001 Volume 1 Issue 22
Is Direct Mail D E A D ... or just sick ?
Anthrax has caused more fear than September 11.
New York and Washington are thousands of miles away for 75% of Americans.
And all of the rest of the world. Plus, what happened happened so fast.
Neither is so for Anthrax. It could be in any mail box anywhere in the
world. And it continues. On and on. Every so slowly. Yet, continuing.
So, no matter where you are - YOU could be the recipient of an envelope
of this deadly white power. Or something similar.
Good friend from Epson Accessories and the Los Angeles Direct Marketing
Association Bob Armstrong suggested I take a crack at this story. The
Direct Marketing Association has done so. The United States Postal Service
continues to do so. There are frequent news updates and stories in every
form of media several times every day.
Direct Mail specialist and real pro Dick Goldsmith has written several
sound articles about the problem. At the National Postal Forum in San
Diego last week included the topic on their agenda. Ray Schultz, editor
of one of the key DM publishing groups, has - again - provided us with
some fine material and excellent thinking.
Here is my take. "Yes", Direct Mail is "sick". No
way is it even close to dead.
Why? Because the idiot(s) who are doing what they are doing will be found.
Given a fair trial. And hanged! At least that is my recommendation. And
if "you" just happened to be one of these idiots and are reading
this - sue me for libel. Would just love to get you into court!
A few days ago a small office where I was the guest had its monthly birthday
party. Instead of cake, donuts were the food offered. Powdered donuts.
Someone made a crack about "white powder". Most of us did not
find it funny.
WebMaster Bill Blinn shares a story from Columbus, Ohio. A suburban school
district science teacher, as a "joke", sent a box of a white
harmless compound to her brother. Some joke! She was arrested.
No media has been "killed" by another - ever. Taken over. Upgraded.
Downgraded. Changed. Improved. Altered. Yes, all these descriptions. And
more. Never truly killed dead. And it most certainly is not going to happen
to Direct Mail because some "sick" person or group mis-uses
Let's get practical for a moment. E-mail has come as close to anything
in "killing" Direct Mail. Has not happened. Won't happen. Big
time change ... especially for first class mail. More or less in a way
technology and convenience changed banks.
i.e., ATM's outside financial institutions have changed the teller line.
Why, the last time I was in my bank was so long ago I can't recall. No
need to. With mail, phone, fax, ATM's and now the WWW, going into a bank
is, for the most part, a waste. Yet, they have not gone away. No, the
bricks and mortar are still there. And they will be. For a long, long
time to come.
Ditto Direct Mail.
Earlier I mentioned Bob Armstrong. Let me quote from an E-mail message
he sent me. About Direct Mail.
"Marketers should always include their brand name and logo on their
mailings for quick and easy recognition by recipients.
"Building personal one-to-one, ongoing relationships with customers
may never be so important as now. Dialogue with customers provides information
about their needs and interests. This information becomes knowledge. Knowledge
lets you communicate messages back that speak specifically to that customer's
needs and interests which results in trust and loyalty.
"Loyalty results in increased sales and profits. The ability to
respond to what you've learned about a customer makes it possible to deliver
your product or service that the customer cannot get from your competitor,
who has not learned what you know about that customer."
Everything Bob suggests is done in spades with Direct Mail. Oh, other
ways, too. And for a while Mail will take a hit. It already has ... big
time. Yet, it is not going away. Bob is right.
Now, a potpourri of thoughts about how to get your Direct Mail to the
person who can buy what you sell, get them to open it and read it;
... more so than ever,
make absolutely certain your list is accurate
Meaning name, address and all spelling is correct. There is never an
excuse for otherwise - today this detail is mandatory. Titles are okay,
only if with a name, and only if they are the right title.
... test mailing to a home address
Targets have been business and government. Because "sick" wants
numbers, which are not found at a home address. Where you have it, mail
to your customers at their home.
... mail a jumbo size, bright & colorful package
Because they look different and are more likely to be noticed. Include
graphics and photography. Colored stock. This approach does not guarantee
your envelope will be open ... yet, it is guaranteed to help. Why? Because
it looks like Direct Mail. And because it does not blend in with the mix
- it stands out.
... try "executive" size, shape, look packages
The personal type stationary, with a water mark, embossed lettering,
gold leaf - a high class appearance. Yep, it will cost more - and be much
more likely to be opened.
... teaser copy is "in"
Creative for Direct Mail has always been inventive. One "invention"
from an eon ago is teaser copy. Some don't care for it. Today it is back
"in". Because it gives your mail that Direct Mail look.
... address your mail like business mail
Meaning neatly typed (no hand writing), meter mail (vs. "live"
stamps), with full logo, return address and other ID on BOTH the
front and the back of the envelope. Hide nothing. Include your URL, toll-free
number and E-mail address, too ... maybe in a "block" on the
back. Go overboard with identification.
... include your picture on your envelope
Yes, you may elect to go truly overboard ... with a photo of your CEO,
COO, VP Marketing or other key person on your envelope. With a "lift"
letter from that person that begins on the outside and continues on the
inside. Packages with people pictures are always more interesting anyway
- today they may work even better.
... use a window envelope, withOUT glassine
An envelope with "open space", without glassine, is opposite
of what the killer would do. So, you do it! You may find 2 or 3 windows
even better. Mail order and publishing has taught us many techniques.
Many of them work perfectly in this environment. Open windows is one of
them. Try it.
... send more post cards & self-mailers
These excellent Direct Mail tools don't have "pockets" to hold
nasty stuff. If you're using them already, use more. If you're not, try
'em - you just may like them.
... try third-class bulk rate mail,
or first class pre-sorted mail
Plain first class mail with live stamps have been the carrier to date.
Use another class of postage, and you're more likely to look like what
you are - Direct Mail.
... include trade association logos
outside & inside your mail
Whatever business you're in, there is a group where you are a member.
Grab their logo and use it on your Direct Mail. This does a couple of
things; first, lets your reader know you're by association a good guy,
and next, offers something the bad guys are very unlikely to ever do.
... reduce gimmicks
Meaning advertising specialties and other 3-D items. If you know anything
about me you know I love 3-Dimensional Direct Mail. For the balance of
2001, skip that stuff. Use text and graphics to be creative and get attention.
It has worked since B.C. ... it will work very well for you today.
... in the short term,
concentrate on customers
Your customers know who you are. They already know to look for you. They
are comfortable with you, and you with them. They know your brand. So,
look like what you are, what your customer expects when they see you.
In the sort term reduce prospecting.
... send an E-mail telling your audience
you're sending them Direct Mail
So they will look for your package. Tell them it's coming, why, and about
when to expect it. It's called integrated marketing. And "common
sense". Which is in short supply from the other side.
... use other media, too,
in harmony with your Direct Mail
If you already use print and broadcast, use more of it. Tell your audience
to "watch your mail box for ____". If you haven't tried support
media for your Direct Mail, now could be the time to give it the
"ole college try". Those marketers that are open and visible
will rebound to new heights from those who hide until "the timing
is better". There is no time like now.
This quick laundry list of 15 ideas is in no way complete. From it hold
your own brainstorming session - you'll double the good you can do in
Halloween Marketing for 2001
What does a skeleton order when she goes into a bar? A beer. And a mop.
Okay, grade school funny. At best.
Still, an introduction. By this time you've undoubtedly seen the retailers
Halloween displays. What about the mail-order folks? Like the 92 page
catalog from FUN EXPRESS. Also available online at www.funexpress.com.
They're part of the Oriental Trading Company family. There's still time
to order off their web site. Or phone them at 1+800+228-0122. If you're
outside North America call 011+402+596-2660.
No, this is not a commercial. It's my experience with these folks that
brings them to mind. Nancy (my bride) and I host a special event at Rockingham
Ranch every October. The last couple of years it has been a Halloween
party. And these guys are good. Lots of great "stuff". Reasonable
to inexpensive prices. And super service.
EnJoy. And ... a Happy Halloween to you.
Ray is on the RAYdio
"Big" Motorcycles on the Road continues to find
All about bikes, bikers, rallies and special events, interesting new
products, from the manufactures, and all the accessories, tour operators,
you name it. If it has to do with motorcycles and enjoying the road, "Big"
Motorcycles on the Road is there.
Although we guarantee our sponsors 24 new programs, this year there will
be over 40! It's only during the winter months, when there are fewer events,
that we slack a bit. And "encore" several of the best programs
from the previous year. We expect to keep the pace going through 2002.
It's now late in October. In much of the country riders are putting their
2 wheels away for winter. Not in the southwest (I like to say we ride
13 months of year). From now through November there are special programs
from Victory Motorcycle, American Honda, Harley-Davidson, the Love Ride,
International Motorcycle Shows ... and, our good friend Sparky - the Betty
Boop Biker Babe. Each new. Each original. Each only available on "Big".
Surf to my site ...Vroooooommmmm! (www.rayjutkins.com/vroom.html)
for the complete schedule. And visit INB Radio (http://www.inbradio.com/ontheroad/)
to catch all WebCasts. New programming goes on-line every Tuesday.
Oh, and I'll "see" you on the RAYdio!
When it was time for me to go to school I had only a rough idea of what
I wanted to do. So I majored in philosophy. Which is fairly useless toward
getting a job, yet, lots of fun to talk about.
Every issue of this E-zine includes a quote from the world's most famous
philosopher - Anonymous.
Here is my choice for this week;
"What was the best thing before sliced bread?"
"Quotes with Direction" has been a part of my web site collection
from day one. If you like quotes visit the archives ... www.rayjutkins.com/quotes/.
There's a new batch up every 4 weeks.