I represented bbr marketing recently as an exhibitor and attendee at the Society for Marketing Professional Services’ (SMPS) Build Business: Dream Big conference at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. During a few free minutes, I decided to walk around Downtown Disney, which boasts the world’s largest Disney store. As I was looking through the endless rows of merchandise, I was struck by the number of souvenirs that were retro-themed, using the old park and attraction logos from the 70s and 80s. Personally, I loved seeing these, as they were what I grew up with, but I also found it amusing as the old adage has once again been proven true: What’s old is new again.
Direct mail as a marketing tool is following the same pattern. Though it has been considered old fashioned and passé for a while, it is once more becoming a way to stand apart from the crowd. Prior to attending the conference we had put together a scratch-n-sniff postcard that we sent out to all registered attendees. We wanted to send out something ahead of time and invite them to stop by our booth and chat with us, but we didn’t want to go the standard route of the email blast that so many people rely on these days for their pre-conference correspondence. So we created our scratch-n-sniff cards, mailed them out and waited to see what sort of reaction we’d get at the SMPS show.
The response was amazing. From the beginning of the show our booth was deluged with people coming up to me to compliment us on the postcards. It wasn’t just that they enjoyed the scratch-n-sniff aspect (it smelled like apples) – they loved that it was a print piece versus email. Three separate people made a point to tell me that they couldn’t remember if any other vendor sent anything, but they definitely remembered our mailer. I honestly lost count after the first day, as it was a constant flow of people commending us on a great marketing piece. It wasn’t elaborate or expensive, it was different and it worked!
Let me state for the record that there’s nothing wrong with emails – there is definitely a place for them in nearly every marketing strategy. However, with so many piling up in our inboxes, it’s easy for yours to get lost in the mix. Plus, most people have gotten into the habit of quickly scanning through and deleting any emails that aren’t immediately work-related. Print mail used to suffer from this same sort of issue. People would receive so many fliers and postcards that they wouldn’t even bother reading through the printed information. With email, the senders save considerable time and money by doing everything online and sending information almost as quickly as they can type it out. It’s typically much more efficient, but because of this, now everyone is doing it and no one really stands out anymore.
We wanted to stand out and boy did we ever! As I stated earlier, what’s old is new again. Used properly, print mail, can now help differentiate your firm from the rest. I encourage you to consider adding a print piece to the mix if you are about to institute a new marketing campaign. Yes, it will probably cost a little more time, effort and money than just sending out a quick email blast, but the potential ROI could be much higher. Our simple postcard is a testament to this: as we are now talking to several potential new clients, thanks in part to the delicious scent of our scratch-n-sniff apple postcard.