Inductive Direct Mail Strategy Leads to a Better Creative Space

Sometimes marketers get stuck in a direct mail strategy rut. They find a direct mail format that works and just stick to it. Over time, the ROI shrinks, but not enough to spend time making changes.

Direct Mail

Sometimes marketers get stuck in a direct mail strategy rut. They find a direct mail format that works and just stick to it. Over time, the ROI shrinks, but not enough to spend time making changes.

This is easy, but not the right thing to do. When you get to this point, you need to get outside your comfortable box and create a new direct mail approach. This goes beyond thinking outside of the box, but to creating a whole new type of box. What do I mean?

It is time to use inductive thinking to get to a better creative space. What is inductive thinking? It is when you observe something and you use that information to create something new. Why use it? Because this type of thinking causes you to ask questions, challenge rules and take risks you would not normally take. This leads to new and better ideas.

So how can we apply this to your next direct mail marketing strategy?

  1. Doubt Everything — Question what you think you know about your direct mail. This includes all your beliefs, perceptions, and assumptions. Only after you do this are you open to new creative thinking. This is the hardest part of creating a new direct mail approach, but it is worth the effort. This step gets you thinking differently.
  2. Probe the Possible — You start this with the questions or issues you discovered in Step 1 to see which areas of focus will be most important. Beyond that, you will want to dig into customer insights, which are extremely important. You need to go into the minds of your customers to discover why, where, when, and how they choose to buy from you, as well as why others don’t buy from you. You are searching to refine any questions or problems you see with your direct mail campaigns.
  3. Diverge — In this step, you will take what you learned from Steps 1 and 2 to focus on the one true problem you wish to address. In many cases, this will be: “How can I increase my direct mail response rate?” You will then come up with as many ideas as you can, no matter how crazy they are. Get creative here. Consider “anything is possible” and “how can it fix my problem?” This step is for creativity and brainstorming.
  4. Converge — Now you are ready to move on to analyzing what you came up with to find the solution that will work best. You will need to use logic and practicality here. This is where you translate your ideas into reality.
  5. Reevaluate — Here you will evaluate how your new direct mail campaign worked. What are the areas of improvement? What else can be tried? You can and should be doing A/B testing to see which designs, offers, lists, and so on perform best. Constant vigilance and tracking are required to create and maintain powerful direct mail.

This process can lead to direct mail that is new and effective when you are able to get the right people in the room for effective communication and you allow enough time for each step to really dig deep. The more time you spend with each step, the better your results are going to be, keeping in mind that this process never really ends. After each campaign, you will evaluate what you did and then start the process to make it even better next time. Are you ready to get started?

Author: Summer Gould

A blog about Direct Mail Marketing, tips, tricks and what not to do.Summer Gould is President of Eye/Comm Inc. Summer has spent her 27 year career helping clients achieve better marketing results. She has served as a panel speaker for the Association of Marketing Service Providers conferences. She is active in several industry organizations and she is a board member for Printing Industries Association San Diego, as well as a board member for Mailing Systems Management Association of San Diego. You can find her at Eye/Comm Inc’s website:, email:, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter @sumgould.

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