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A Direct Mail Strategy to Engage the Senses

Tom Hexamer

Your direct mail package is competing for attention with other media channels and other mail pieces. To get your message noticed, consider whether your direct mail strategy engages all five senses of the recipient. After all, the greatest advantage of direct mail is that someone is going to physically touch your offer, even if only for a moment. No other channel can make this claim. Another distinct advantage is the vast amount of recipient-specific information available to help you gain their attention and relate to them on a more personal level.

Due to this unparalleled level of consumer interaction, marketers have many options to appeal to their consumers and increase their response rates. But it’s important to consider how your audience interacts with a mailpiece. Like a fine wine, it must appeal to all of five senses.

Here are tips to keep in mind when developing your next direct mail strategy:

Sight: Very simply, try to stand out from that stack of #10 and 6” x 9” envelopes. We see lift in both larger and smaller sizes, with our small monarch format pulling especially well in multiple verticals.

Touch: Official, upscale or promotional design elements on the outer envelope have a big impact on response. We often see an official treatment (with elements such as a Kraft outer envelope or snap-pack) work well in driving gross response, while an upscale treatment (soft touch or textured outer envelope, holographic foil label, etc.) can hook a higher value client. So remember to keep your audience in mind.

Sound: Direct mail relies on copy, and tone and repetition are important. How do you speak to your customers? Highlighting and repeating a strong offer is always a best practice, regardless of segment. We often restate the offer and how to respond on a plastic card (with great success). However, don’t discount the nuances of your different segments in the rest of the messaging. How will they use this offer? What is the benefit to them? We have seen substantial lift by targeting this additional messaging to different segments.

Smell: Our new marketing intern, Mitchell Millard, shared with me his affection for pieces that use fragrance. While we don’t see this in the vertical markets we support, it got me thinking…why not?

Taste: The goal is to get people to bite on your offer. It’s important to understand why they looked at your mailpiece, what compelled them to open, what was the first copy element they read and what was the key element that drove them to act. The reality of direct mail engagement is that it’s a combination of all of these to get consumers to act on your offer.

Remember that consumers are savvy and have been reacting to direct marketing offers for decades. What I have found is that consumers go through cycles of responding better to “loaded packages” and then shift to “simple packages.” The reality is that the loaded packages always have a better gross response, but not always enough to cover the additional expense.

Consumers also appreciate and respond to effort. The least amount of effort from a format perspective is a postcard, and generally they have the lowest response. Don’t be afraid to test higher value elements that appeal to the senses. They work.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2015/07/08/direct-mail-strategy-to-engage-the-senses/
Tom Hexamer

Author

Tom Hexamer

Senior Vice President of Sales. Graduate of Ball State University with more than 20 years of industry experience. Bringing the “challenge convention” mindset to IWCO Direct for more than seven years. Favorite award: Receiving a “Best Dad Ever” mug from his kids, who are now teenagers and may not feel the same way. Lover of Little League sports with his children and date nights with his wife. Unapologetic Indiana Hoosiers fan.

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