Breaking Through with 3D Mail (part 2): Getting and Staying in Front


Breaking Through with 3D Mail

Part one of this series covered the development of a micro-targeted list. The next step is to look at how to get past the Administrative Assistant and make it to your targeted influencer (the AA test), not become a giveaway (the giveaway test) and landing with a highly visible placement.

The trick to direct mail is reaching your target with your message. Makes sense, right? If you don’t get there, you can’t hope to make an impact. But let’s take that a step further. After you reach them, how do you stay in front of them?

First things first: your logo should be prominent, but not so blatant that your target would never use your giveaway. There is no sense in trying to stay in front of your target if your logo is not showing. We are trying to make an initial impact, possibly creating a memory (i.e. “You’re the guys that sent me the [insert your item here]). And then we want the giveaway to stay around as a reminder (“I love it, I have it hanging/sitting in my office/car/wallet/home.”)

Include your unique selling proposition (U.S.P.). This may be your positioning line, but for others, this will be a benefit statement about how your company can help theirs.

The Approach to Selecting the Right Giveaway
Choosing and impactful giveaway item is essential to the success of your program. Here’s a guide to selection the right Item:

Approach 1: Make the giveaway about your compay.
One approach is to make your giveaway tie directly into your message, i.e. your bubble wrap company sends a case of popcorn and a popcorn maker with the message “Let’s get Poppin’.” A natural tie in can make a lasting impression, but don’t limit your ideas. Avoid being overtly corny like the above example (I know - terrible pun). If the tie in is not appropriate – move on.

Approach 2: Make the giveaway about the target.
Another approach is to focus the giveaway on the target (but always be sure to put your logo on it, and whenever possible, your U.S.P.).  If you are going to get past the AA test and the giveaway test then your item will need to be unique. A unique giveaway could be:

  • Personal (i.e. an engraved or framed item)
  • Valuable (where permitted)
  • Rare or cool
  • All of the above

My advice is to make the item more about the target. This makes the planning a bit more difficult, but your giveaway is more likely to create a lasting memory and stay around longer.

You may find one item and approach that is right for all of your targets, if that is the case – congratulations, your time commitment will be less and you may be able to expand your target list. However, most likely you will need to come up with a few different ideas. For example, if a group of your target influencers work for companies that have been around for a while, they may have vintage advertisements available. You could purchase them online and then have them framed at your local framing or art supply store, placing your logo and U.S.P. (IN A subtle FASHION) on the mat. Don’t be afraid to move forward with several different approaches for your targets. You don’t want to eliminate good ideas because they may not work for your entire list of targets.

Passing the AA and the Giveaway Tests:
I mentioned earlier that there are two tests the program needs to pass in order to reach your target:

1. The AA Test. (for upper level targets only)
There are many executives that prefer to filter their own mail, but from my experience, the AA is going to first pull out the junk. Place yourself in the shoes of an Administrative Assistant.

When you get a call on the phone, you first filter/qualify the call. Who are you? Who are you with? Is she expecting your call?

When you get mail, you first filter/qualify the mail. As an AA you are probably asking yourself two questions? Is this worth my boss’ time? In other words will she be bothered if I leave this in the mail pile? And, would she be upset if I didn’t pass this along.

The beauty of a 3D direct mail-piece is that it stands out. For some it may feel like a present, but for many it just carries a greater weight of importance. Good things come in packages. An AA will very likely toss a postcard, while a package carries more weight.

Tip 1: The same is true with handwritten notes – they are becoming increasingly rare (keep this in mind when you finalize the effort).

Tip 2: To avoid security concerns, never send a suspicious looking package. Be sure to send a professional looking package with a clearly marked return address label.

2. The Giveaway Test.
This all comes down to placement. Will your item land in the office/car/wallet/home or garbage of your target. The giveaway test goes something like this:

“Do I want to keep this item for myself, or should I give it to my kids/AA/wife/boss/friend/associate?”

This puts a lot of pressure on you to pick the right item. If you pick an item that is too personal, then you really need to limit the number of targets you are mailing to. If you pick an item that is rare or cool, it will need to be cool in a way that won’t end up on the desk of the recipient’s 14-year-old child. Ideally you want your giveaway to be on your target’s desk. Competition for desk space is fierce. Here is where originality helps, people do not want more coffee cups, water bottles, post-its, decision-making dice, pens, wine bottle opening sets, etc., that have your company’s logo on them. Save those for your next tradeshow.

Your time and resources will certainly play into your approach, but selecting the right item is critical to the success of this program. For many mailings you may be able to build suspense…Imagine your target eagerly awaiting your next package. Think about how impactful that can be. The next part in this series looks at ways build suspense and anticipation in your targets minds.

About the Author

Chris Templeton
Account Manager

With me, it’s all about knowledge--knowing what makes target audiences tick--to foster stronger messaging and connections.

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