Learn from Santa’s Marketing Mistakes…For Goodness Sakes
Remember as a child the excitement you felt when you mailed Santa your letter listing the gifts you hoped to find under the Christmas tree? It was a personal form of communication that you knew only he would see. Personally, I never expected a letter in return because I understood, in a simpler form, his clientele was too large and his time was too precious to write each child on the nice list, plus I preferred he focus his attention on getting those elves to make my toys. While now I am much older and have grasped the “truth” about Santa Clause, I believe businesses can greatly learn from jolly old Saint Nick’s lack of effort when it came to his direct mail initiatives. That is, an old fashion piece of physical mail may be a great way to go above and beyond the expectations of your clients.
There’s something that makes us giddy and curious when we receive physical mail that isn’t a bill or anther credit card offer. After all, the founding of the United States Post Office changed the way the world would communicate with one another forever. While the tradition lives on, and in some ways will always need to, the United States Post Office reports a decline in mail volume of more than 20% over the past five years. In an effort to cut costs, the Postal System has even considered eliminating Saturday deliveries beginning in 2012.
We know, especially in the marketing industry, instant access to information, proofs and proposals makes our jobs easier and more efficient. But with billions of texts and e mails sent every day, often many go unnoticed. So, you may wonder, how does business apply? We understand it is not conceivable to craft a personal handwritten letter to each of your clients. However, at the end of each quarter you can choose your top clients and write them a personal thank you letter. In your letter, instead of including another pitch, thank them for their loyalty and ask if there is any way you can continue to further their business. Or, if you are in the process of pitching to a prospect, once you have sent them all the necessary e mails, PDF’s and web content electronically, try dropping them a note in the mail to thank them for their time and consideration and see if they have any questions or need any additional information. Nowadays e mails and texts are so simple, you don’t even need to know how to spell with auto-correct and spell check. But because these technologies are part of our daily routine physical mail will stand out all the more.
When personal letters don’t seem possible at all, direct mail is always a great alternative. Although the personal touch may seem more distant than in a thank you letter, direct mail can become more than simply a branded post card. Before the evolution of e mail, direct mail used to have to fight to get noticed in the stack of mail you brought into your house on a daily basis. Now, mailboxes are emptier and marketers have the opportunity to stand out, especially if they research and target the right demographic. Direct mail pieces become promotional items that offer your business the chance to get inside the homes of your consumers, stick around for a few days and even tie into your online efforts. Including valuable coupons in your direct mail will give your clients the incentive to hold onto your mailer and utilize it when they need it most. This also assures them your company is keeping their best interests in mind. Bed Bath and Beyond is a great example, we all get their 20% off coupons quite often, they rarely expire and they allow you to use them per item at checkout. So, anytime we think “Oh! I need this widget for the house”, we grab our stack of coupons and head out the door to the closest Bed Bath and Beyond without a second thought. Establishing your company as an industry leader means you must be in their heads before they even think it. The point is a great marketer ensures that their clients are being reached through all possible mediums. And although sending mail through the postal system seems to be a dying trend, it isn’t! The Post Office may continue to downsize, but it will always be around. Many people still check their mail on a daily basis and appreciate the thought put into a personalized letter or postcard. Just imagine had Santa invested in a direct mail campaign we may all still be believers. OK, that is a bit of a stretch, but I sure would have appreciated it.
What are your thoughts on maintaining a mailbox presence? Leave a comment, or better yet write me a letter!
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© 2011 J.M. Field Marketing