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Articles by Marcus Johnson

Blog Archive


Seven Rules to Get the Most from Your Direct Mail Envelope

Posted October 12, 2022 by in Direct Mail Marketing

I know what you’re thinking. “Hmm. It’s not from anyone I know, at least I think it isn’t. It looks kind of important. I should probably open it. If I don’t, I’ll wonder all day what it is.” Amazing how much power that brown kraft paper envelope — empty of information except your address and maybe an obscure return address — exerts over you. So let’s consider direct mail envelopes, what they do or don’t tell us and why, all in service of getting you to open them.

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Direct Mail: More Value and Verifiable Results

Posted July 20, 2022 by in Direct Mail Marketing

Direct mail is … back? Actually, due to the effectiveness of direct mail, it never went away. Its reputation as a high-value marketing channel whose results are testable and verifiable over multiple iterations (in contrast to ever-more questionable online marketing) has strengthened its appeal over the past 20 years. Oh, and the only personal information  […]

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Direct Mail Testing: Why Good is Never Good Enough — And How to Keep Getting Better

Posted April 13, 2022 by in Strategy and Analysis

Do you ever get the feeling we live in a “what have you done for me lately” world? Maybe it’s not a feeling for you; it’s your reality. If your work is measured in any meaningful way — and more is these days since data makes the world go ‘round — you could find yourself thinking that good is never good enough. That might be true, but there is an upside. Direct mail testing is a good example of how measurement is a positive.

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In Praise of the Direct Mail Letter

Posted July 28, 2021 by in Creative, Direct Mail Tips

“Letter schmetter,” said the marketer who wanted to cut the cost of her direct mail package. “Let’s mail an oversized postcard.” Maybe your first thought is, “Sure, we could do that.” But then another thought chases that one away and you say to yourself, “Self, wait just a minute. The letter is the most important  […]

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The Seven Magic Words of Direct Mail

Posted June 9, 2021 by in Creative

Magic words of direct mail? That seems a little “out there” for such a hardworking marketing tool. Especially with the strategic, data-driven approach IWCO Direct uses for performance marketing. But, yes, there are magic words you can use in direct mail; they’re “magic” because they can cause a dramatic increase in response to your mailing.

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The Johnson Box—What, Why, Where, and How

Posted March 3, 2021 by in Creative, Direct Mail Tips

Before we dive into the value and inner workings of the Johnson Box, a little family history. The Johnson Box was invented by my great great great grandfather Eustice Aristotle Johnson, a pioneer in direct mail. This breakthrough in marketing occurred shortly after he created boxed cereal and sliced bread. I’m a little fuzzy on  […]

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How to Write Direct Response Copy in Any Channel

Posted November 18, 2020 by in Creative

Staring into the abyss of writing direct response copy for a multichannel marketing campaign? Pull up a chair and let’s discuss. First, define the scope. Say you have direct mail, email, ad-like objects (think banner/display ads, including those for different online platforms like mobile, tablet, and desktop), and social media. We could go deeper, but  […]

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Six Direct Mail Don’ts

Posted November 11, 2020 by in Creative, Direct Mail Tips

The usual focus of my wildly entertaining blogs (hold your applause until the end, please) is ways to improve your direct mail—writing, strategic thinking, presentation, etc. In other words, what to do. This month’s topic is based on one of my father’s favorite phrases, dating back to my youth. At some point during an average  […]

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Does Your Direct Mail Package Pass the Test? An Essential Checklist—Rules 7-9

Posted July 22, 2020 by in Direct Mail Tips, Strategy and Analysis

We’ve come to the final three (of nine) questions that every direct mail producer should ask before, during, and after you create a direct mail package. Reminder: these questions come courtesy of Paul McQuillan, who turned his experience at a marketing seminar into a piece for Target Marketing. His article appeared a few years  […]

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