Campaign India Team
Jun 21, 2010

Vandana Kakar’s blog: The power of direct mail

It was social media all the way, the first day at Cannes. Seminars and workshops discussed the impact and future of social media. But for me, the session that stood out was the seminar on direct mail - a powerful session highlighting the impact of the simple direct mailer in today’s digital age.

Vandana Kakar’s blog: The power of direct mail

It was social media all the way, the first day at Cannes. Seminars and workshops discussed the impact and future of social media. But for me, the session that stood out was the seminar on direct mail - a powerful session highlighting the impact of the simple direct mailer in today’s digital age.

Conducted by Patrick Collister, editor of Directory magazine, this seminar titled ‘Stuffed, Stamped and Licked’ was a perfect inauguration of what appears to be a week-long classroom on the latest updates and thinking in the world of communication. Here is a report:
•  A muddy envelope that has been kept out in the rain all night arrives at your door step. It stands out from the other clean ones. The mail inside reads something like – "How would you feel if you had no home and had to stay up all night?" A mailer asking for donations for a shelter for the homeless
•  An art teacher receives a personalized letter written in pencil saying – "Erase this letter". A direct mailer from Staedtler advising art teachers to stock their erasers.
•  A letter sent by Frankfurt church needs to be washed first in order to be read. A mailer asking parents to get their children baptized.
These were just some of the examples discussed to highlight how when used creatively, the direct mailer can create buzz, high-powered impact and yield outstanding results.

Patrick was emphatic. Direct mail is not the ugly sister of advertising. It can be the Cinderella of communications. He lamented the fact that DM is often treated as garbage, due to indiscriminate use by banks and financial services companies. It can, he urged, touch people the way no other medium can because it knows who you are, speaks your language and arrives at your doorway and in your hands, away from the clutter of all other mediums trying to catch your attention. “Creativity can be used to differentiate,” he stressed. The first step towards this is the envelope. He gave the example of an envelope deliberately ripped and then mailed. It was probably the first envelope to be seen by its recipients. The mail inside asked the question – "How would you feel if someone is going through your mail?" Sure to get the reader thinking and worried and take action against online theft of information.

Envelopes, he emphasized could be exceptionally large; tiny; transparent; made of leather or suede, as used by Merecedes, or even fur. They could even have the address at the back - an amazing idea that worked. Or how about ice cream stamps that were used by Haagen Dazs. Yummy!!!

The letter inside could be only a line, be sent by film stars or hand written by little children, have cartoons, plays…anything to stand out.

Patrick’s advice to the creators of DM:
• Think of yourselves as warriors fighting on behalf of your clients, helping them make profits
• Think of the nature of the problem and make an interesting story
• Use envelopes to get attention
• Start talking in a normal tone and create intrigue
• Think, what can I do differently, how can I make it better.
• Get people to buy your message. They will then buy your product
• If you can persuade people to send you their money by post, writing a TV commercial is pretty easy.   
 
If you want to see examples of world-class direct mail and get a copy of his talk, you can send him a letter at:
Patrick Collister,
Editor of Directory,
Pett House
Pett Lane, Stockbury,
Kent ME9 7RJ
United Kingdom
 
Vandana Kakar is Coordinator – Training and Quality, Adfactors PR.

Source:
Campaign India