Direct Mail Designers Stealing Smart … From Digital

A few weeks ago, I was standing at my desk, opening the boxes of direct mail that get delivered to our Who’s Mailing What! offices. We all have a ritual like this with our mail at home, right? Multiple studies say it’s a just a few seconds at best for each piece. Thanks to the work of designers and copywriters, we keep what gets our attention, and dispose of the rest, one way or another.

Here’s a good example of one that used a graphic resembling Google Maps and other location apps. It popped up on a postcard from Renewal by Andersen, the window and door installation company.

Andersen_01The red pins on the map mark the locations of the company’s customers in a target area. “We have 9,967 Delaware Valley customers … and counting!!” it boasts, adding to the visual impact of all of those red dots.

And, there are photo insets for two of those pins that show Andersen’s product installed on a customer’s house, which further bolsters the credibility of the brand.

Another content marketing tactic that you’re more familiar with online is the use of infographics, but even these have occasionally popped up in a direct mail piece. Given how well-done ones can really convey a lot of information quickly, I’m a bit surprised that more marketers and nonprofits don’t at least try them. I came across a good example of one who did.

Neumont_01Neumont University, a for-profit technical institute, went all in by using an infographic as its letter to a prospective student. The top panel is the first thing the highschooler reads after opening the envelope. It immediately start to qualify him or her by talking about the kinds of mail they’re already getting from other institutions, showing an “old school approach”.

Neumont’s is decidedly different.

When unfolded, over five panels, the infographic measures a whopping 8-1/2”x20”.

It has everything, doesn’t it?

Lots of numbers, like “Average Starting Salary $62,600” and “STELLAR RESULTS Over 97% of our grads are employed within 6 months of graduation.”

There’s a word cloud, and plenty of blocks with icons, logos, and graphics. This “simplified view of how we measure up” is a good match for the kind of student Neumont says it seeks in the short paragraph up at the top: “impatient … tech-focused.”  And it’s in stark contrast to the more traditional, copy-heavy direct mail in this niche market.

The importance of all this is clear: Information can be presented more clearly and quickly to the customer or prospect, and then, get them to take action. All of these tactics may not be appropriate for every marketer or nonprofit, or for every campaign, but their use does provide some good food for thought.

4 thoughts on “Direct Mail Designers Stealing Smart … From Digital”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *