Tag Archives: Direct mail

3 innovative B2B direct mail campaigns that marketers can learn from

The old days of simple messages in an envelope are long gone – to stand out from the direct mail crowd, you need to get creative.

Grabbing a prospect’s attention as soon as your missive lands on their desk is the hook that every campaign needs, no matter how good your direct marketing data is. So how are successful marketers making that positive first impression? Tetra Pack, NetNames and Oracle take their direct mail to a new level.

The basics: pushing the envelope
You’ve spent money attaining finely targeted direct marketing lists so now it’s time to consider your direct mail’s content, message – and just as importantly – its presentation.

While you may have a call to action that’ll make your prospects go weak at the knees, if it arrives in a brown envelope, you can expect all that work and investment in direct marketing data to be shown the nearest bin before it’s even been opened.

If possible, make the envelope the product, or at least reflect it in the packaging; Tetra Pak, the food and drink packaging company, wanted to show off its new Prisma Aspetic product that allows brands to print over the entire pack.

Tetra sent out Prisma Aspetic cartons with their prospect’s brand printed on it plus a personalised leaflet and a link to an online hypervideo for more information.


Tetra Pak 2 - Edited

The direct mail alone had a 53% response rate…

Go multichannel
While marketing bloggers can seem obsessed with comparing direct mail against supposed ‘competing’ channels such as digital, the smart B2B marketer knows that using a multichannel approach is becoming increasingly important.

NetNames wanted to make a splash by positioning itself as the leading global brand protection service for business. It focused its campaign on the concept of very literally ‘unmasking’ cyber criminals and deploying a key message ‘Search. Find. Stop’. The visuals were simple – orange ‘cybermatter’ splashed over an invisible thief, revealing his facial features.

Working with Earnest, NetNames created an integrated campaign with personalised content – from social media and microsite content to a powerful targeted direct mail campaign, the latter deploying a two-tiered approach:

Low Value
A simple but highly attractive animated, interactive lenticular postcard with the company’s core message personalised for each industry type and job role the postcard was sent out to.

High Value
A plush box containing a personalised pin-art gadget inside to underline the invisible threat of cybercrime to businesses both big and small.

By deploying such an innovative, multichannel approach, NetNames garnered over 72 meetings during the campaign.


Think true multimedia
Other mediums can be used to fantastic effect, again with technology and traditional direct mail being used to complement each other. Step forward Oracle’s B2B direct mail campaign that saw the company reaching out to 40 hand-selected companies in the oil and gas sectors.

Using a video-in-a-card (a personalised TV-style news show in a miniature, self-playing video pack), the campaign generated 33 leads and a sales pipeline of over £600,000.


  • Innovate with your packaging to ensure prospects actually open it
  • Don’t fear a multichannel approach to complement your direct marketing; embrace it instead
  • Personalisation and targeted direct mail marketing is more important than blanket-bombing hundreds of prospects, so make sure your direct marketing lists are optimised

Before sending your innovative direct mail campaign, download the eGuide ‘Wait – Before you send: The Direct Mail Checklist

By DMA guest blogger Suzanne Stock, Founder Director, Marketscan

Advertising mail on the up in 2014

Mail is back! What a relief after the last five years of wondering what was happening and worrying about how fragile the market for the physical mail product was at last there is light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe you hadn’t noticed how the number of letters you received seemed to disappear from the door mat. Or the constant encouragement to go online with your bills and statements. And to add insult to injury we were asked to pay for a paper bill. It all started looking better at the end of 2012 and the demand has continued to increase through 2013. Continue reading

One digital native discovers the wonderful world of print

Entering the direct marketing world as a digital native, I was quite oblivious to the developments that have taken place in print technology over the last few years. Having met a few marketing folk since I joined the DMA I must say I am much more informed now. So if there are any young marketers out there who think offline and digital are different channels, think again. The lines are blurring, and surprisingly have been blurry for a quite while now! Continue reading

I heart NY: my favourites from the Caples Awards

New York is one of the most populous urban agglomerations in the world. Its number further increases on 14 November when the world’s creative elite roll in for the annual Caples Awards. Continue reading

FMCG media planners are missing a trick

I believe FMCG marketers are missing a strategic trick on reaching target people and getting inside their heads. I’m going to call this trick ‘new advertising mail’ and anyone involved in FMCG should embrace it.

At the DMA’s Leaping off the page seminar in June, media guru David Brennan said no media channel is dead, it’s just how people use them in their buying journey that changes.

Then Mike Colling (MC&C), Linzi Clingan (Golden Charter), Liz Curry (Comic Relief), Tim Drye (Data Talk), and Sam Grimley (Blippar) shared nugget after nugget of proof on the power and place of advertising mail in the media and creative comms schedule and its impressive comparative ROIs.

Why digital cannot replace advertising mail
In 2004 Facebook launched and over the next six years the dazzle of digital pushed paper-based direct marketing aside. Hundreds of millions of pounds of shareholder funds in the form of marketing budget were hosed into the market on seemingly exciting, new wave digital campaigns, often however with questionable accountability.

So why during the last three years has there been a trend resurgence in advertising mail? (industry stats presented by Mark Young). Because quite frankly digital doesn’t turn people on all the time. More and more people are sick of the hijacking of social space by commerce. We’re all fazed by the volume of emails we have to manage every day. And on top of that, Twitterdom, World of Facebook, Linked In, Pinterest, blah blah and more blah blah.

What’s crucial is BALANCE. Not forgetting powerful response generating tools that work.

Of course the wibbly wobbly web and all its constituent elements and inventions are exciting and surprising. And the burgeoning real-time smartphone connection dynamics are frighteningly game changing.

Media planners wrong to ignore advertising mail
Printed advertising mail has fallen off the media mix radar and that’s stupid because consumers like it. CCB Fast.MAP has proved that. And the highest response from advertising mail comes from 18 to 25 year olds; the second highest after ‘busy housewives’.

Media agencies that control the majority of client budget in the UK don’t push it. Clients aren’t questioning what the media agencies recommend because in my experience they don’t know the right questions to ask.  Brand and marketing managers in their late 20s and early 30s don’t know because when they started work eight to 10 years ago (after college, uni or apprenticeship) they were being bombarded by the digital wave. Direct mail was what their parents did.

So, all the learnings from decades of direct marketing testing by the likes of Stan Rapp, Tom Collins, Drayton Bird paled into old hat past annals. Why? Human nature hasn’t changed that much, just a few new gadgets and widgets enabling a wider choice of comms consumption.

So REDEPLOYMENT is key. David Brennan talks about the appeal of at home media like TV and mail because they’re consumed behind closed doors, pulling emotional strings that ‘nudge’ people positively way before they’re into the shopping melee.

Advertising mail in the digital age
Printed advertising mail works because it is tangible, tactile, durable, real/not virtual, in the main trusted, and ‘mine’.

The big difference post 2010 versus pre 2004 is creative digital technology using smartphones can now hugely enhance the 3D experience your target consumer enjoys from printed advertising mail, and seed, or obviate, or shorten the continuing journey online… whether it’s addressed ‘Dear Mr Smith’ or unaddressed advertising mail (which is 10 times cheaper) such as SMART-Drop direct promotional advertising. It’s cost effective too – the media cost is no more expensive than cheap broadcast TV, but way more targetable to prospect households in the UK you want to reach.

The moral of the story?
1) Media agencies, hello, please change your media planning tools to include ‘new advertising mail/personalised addressed’ and ‘new advertising mail/unaddressed targeted door drop’. There are hundreds of case studies proving the profitability for clients. But they are each isolated microcosms of success, hidden in the main from the top table discussions between media planners and client marketers.

2) FMCG client marketers, hello, please take charge of your budgets that are shareholders’ funds, be more diligent in the accountability of your spend, put yourselves in your target consumer’s shoes and think how they would like to be communicated with, not just what your media agencies tell you. You might find some interesting new tests are worthwhile, beautifully written text on printed mail that springs to life with QR and AR image recognition to boost response and shorten the journey to purchase.

3) We’re missing a trick and to be successful in the future we should make the most of the opportunities we have.

Welcome to the world of ‘new advertising mail’.

Recipients like it more than many other media channels, so it should be PLANNED like a proper media channel.

By DMA guest blogger Rick Pullan, Managing Director, TBDA and  DMA Agencies Council member

Get insights into why print plays a vital role in the customer journey and hear the results of the DMA/fast.MAP/HP print tracking report at From letterbox to inbox – building customer relationships on Tuesday 15 October.
- See more at: http://dmablogs.org.uk/index.php/fmcg-media-planners-are-missing-a-trick/#sthash.fu6Lah6L.dpuf

Three reasons why I keep direct mail to inspire my work

As I’m a copywriter, I think receiving direct mail is truly fantastic. I suggest grabbing it all up and keeping it. Other than life insurance and PG Tips 2-4-1 promotions, here are three reasons why I use direct mail I receive to inspire my work:

1. It’s full of ideas. Sometimes bad ones, sometimes brilliant ones; often horribly-executed ones. Whether you’re stuck for a creative concept, a turn of phrase or a five-minute break to refresh your head: there’s a flyer for that.

2. It’s random. This is an extension of the point above, but worth its own point. We can only create using the thoughts in our head, and it’s hard to deliberately seek out randomness: we instinctively turn to the same websites, read the same newspapers or listen to certain genres of music. Direct mail offers a chance to inject something fresh into your thinking. Give it a glance.

3. It’s very visual. It’s colourful, pictorial, photographic. The brain likes pictures, even if it’s a copywriter brain like mine. It’s exciting. Make a point of noticing one thing that you like and one thing you don’t about each image.

Use ad mail, look out for it, collect it. Pick up flyers and postcards. And if it doesn’t give you something back creatively, then  you can at least enjoy a cheaper cup of tea.

By DMA guest blogger Laurence Collings, freelance copywriter

Augmented reality is finally a reality

For those of us with even a passing interest in technology, it seems that augmented reality (AR) has been the ‘next big thing’ for a while now. Technologies have been created and become obsolete in the time we’ve been waiting for AR to really take off.

With the proliferation of smartphones, a burgeoning tablet market and quicker mobile surfing, it seems everything is finally coming together for AR. A recent survey from Direct Marketing International magazine revealed that AR is regarded as one of the most exciting pieces of technology to happen to the industry. When quizzed on what technology marketers expect to change the way they do business, AR sat comfortably in the top five. Visiongain claims that 25% of mobile apps will feature augmented reality in 2012.

Getting your brand noticed with AR
Tesco and Lynx have been very successful adopters. Tesco used AR technology to add extra layers of digital content and interactivity to a series of print ads in the Daily Mail – the additional context to the ad linked users to Tesco’s mobile website, deals and offered access to daily recipes. Meanwhile, Lynx proved successful in linking AR with social media with its ‘Angel Ambush’ campaign. The campaign went viral and has been viewed on YouTube over 1.2 million times to date.

As a business which deals with brands across multiple channels we’re always looking for ways to bring print and technology together in a more engaging and innovative way, and AR is shaping up to be the next driver in this area. Print remains a highly effective and valued channel for consumer engagement, but as AR edges towards its tipping point it can help to push direct marketing into the future.

One of the reasons the technology should excite marketers is because of its potential in driving frictionless engagement. Through the use of AR, brands are able to interact with the customer easily and almost immediately as all they have to do is click a few buttons to be captivated for a period of time. Augmented reality also provides marketers with the opportunity to create more powerful and relevant content as it brings static images to life, layers content on top of the user’s immediate surroundings and brings the brand into the consumer’s world. The ability to bring content to life in this way opens up all kinds of possibilities in terms of creativity and design, which in turn drives engagement and creates stand-out.

AR finds a new life for direct mail
While this no doubt excites the creatives within our industry, AR can also be used to drive insight – AR can make direct mail more measurable, as the technology enables targeted tracking. There’s no way of knowing whether or not somebody has read your mail out before disposing of it, but you can track activation of content and click-throughs.

Coming at it from a different angle, there’s also an argument to say that direct mail is equally important to AR. Augmented reality will only be successful when integrated seamlessly with other channels, and direct mail has a vital role to play in that. The two media complement each other perfectly.

We’re still only scratching the surface of the potential that AR and the personalised experience it can offer. In the long term, the novelty and ‘wow’ factor of AR will wear off, and the brands that will triumph are those that will integrate the technology seamlessly into their communications, while offering tangible benefits to their consumers such as money savings and increased convenience.

Adoption of AR within the direct mail sector should be seen as a huge opportunity to prove to the naysayers that direct mail can be an engaging and innovative medium. The clue is in the name – AR is here to augment the user experience.

For too long, the widely-held belief was that the growth of digital channels only served to replace their analogue equivalents. However, the only media that are likely to struggle are those that lose sight of the basic principles of marketing, and fail to deliver something of real value to the consumer. AR shouldn’t be dismissed as just a cool new gadget, we should all quickly start to understand the greater potential to convey the message, engage the customer instantly and measure the response.

The relationship between AR and direct marketing is no different; the more willing the industry is to embrace and use the technology, the greater the potential to deliver campaigns that truly ignite the consumer’s imagination.

By DMA guest blogger Phil Dean, managing director of Ingenious Rapport

Will increased postal charges create an opportunity for door drop marketing?

From the start, let me clarify that I don’t believe for one minute that the UK door drop supplier market is currently able to mount a serious challenge to direct mail.

But if we’re talking cold acquisition, is the door opening?

The imminent postal charge increase has led to a frenzy of speculation of how that may affect direct mail (outgoing and inbound), so has there ever been a better time to test cold door drops versus cold direct mail?

From an image perspective, many marketers currently see door drops as a scatter gun approach in comparison to the rifle shot of direct mail – but that too is changing.

Door drops mirror many of the attributes of direct mail in terms of being a tangible and physical medium. And to some degree, may even hold some aces in terms of the types of format which can be easily handled and delivered.

Already this year we’ve handled the delivery of interesting die cut items, designed to create stand out on the doormat – and client feedback is already confirming that is happening.

It’s interesting that at the same time as increasing postal charges, Royal Mail door-to-door has raised the upper weight limit for door drop items from 100 to 200 grammes on its rate card – and possibly even beyond.

For an item weighing in a 180-200 gramme band, can delivery be achieved at just 15p per household?

With pretty much any direct mail piece probably fitting within RM D2D’s maximum size specifications, their door has arguably been flung open for advertisers to test.

And with the remainder of the door drop sector continuing to improve its ability to target and deliver door drop items in units of hundreds of households, rather than the thousands commonly associated with postal sector door drops, the pieces of a jigsaw are starting to fit together.

For clients willing to look at test programmes, it will be critical to determine at the outset a client’s primary target market and there are reliable processes to complete those tasks.

And clients’ should never base their targeting criteria on personal preferences or perceptions.

Aspiring to an ABC1 target market is a common trait amongst marketers, but if your targeting profile is wrong, door drops are not going to work – but don’t then blame the medium.

But are marketers willing to listen to new ideas and concepts – and test?

Speaking bluntly, I think such testing rarely appears on many marketers radar.

But how will they ever discover is there are viable alternatives out there if there is no testing programme?

Interestingly, in the last few months, we have come across a small band of marketers – almost exclusively clients direct – from a range of very different backgrounds who were prepared to dip their toes in the testing water.

Some lateral (very in some cases) thinking has been applied and test matrices created.

Only time will of course tell how the door drop activity will fare and compare, but some forward thinking clients are already committing to second stage testing activity, not being prepared to just give it one go and throw it away if it does not produce instant results.

Well done to them I say – they are almost pioneers.

Some of these clients are even undertaking the door drop activity against their agencies’ advice, which could be really interesting in the longer term.

Testing matrices can be created on relatively small budgets, but the learnings can be significant.

So, has there ever been a better time to test door drops?

Guest blogger Graham Dodd is the MD of the The Letterbox Consultancy. He has over 40 years of experience in the UK door drop sector, is a fellow of the Institute of Direct Marketing and a former member of the DMA’s Door Drop Council.