What’s in My Mailbox?
What is the current state of direct mail advertising today?
Who is sending it? Is there a trend? How are they doing? I’ll tell you!
My critique of actual daily mail received in my box. I’m scoring it – Best possible score 100
The only thing that really matters in a direct mail piece is whether it was successful. Although I have no idea what kind of response most of this mail generates, my critique is based solely on proven direct marketing principles as well as my past experiences. It is my personal opinion that any piece with a score over 70 is more than likely creating positive results for the mailer with 100 bringing in the best response available.
Date: 12/04/09 Amount of mail: 4 pieces / Standard Mail: 4 / First Class Mail: 0
3 pieces addressed to my 18 year old daughter, 1 piece addressed to me
- Visible Changes Postcard, Size: 4 x 10 four colors (addressed to my daughter)
Score: 85 – The Direct Mail Coach
Front side: Collage of 15 photos (headshots) and text: Happy Birthday Wishes
Mail Panel side: Minimal text telling you exactly what to do.
Offer: Happy Birthday from Visible Changes. Bring card into Visible Changes for a free gift, Exp date: 1/31/2010
List: Customer list (my guess as my daughter is a customer)
Strong points: A quick glance and you know exactly what the offer is. Contains a reason to bring card in – FREE gift. Simple to the point design, good copy and the offer had no purchase qualifications or disclaimers.
Weak points: Daughter’s birthday was in October. Either this was a database problem or this was a second mailing. It is possible they resend the birthday cards to the people who have not claimed their gift.
US Navy Self-mailer, 8 ½ x 14 folded, four colors (addressed to my daughter)
Score: 50– The Direct Mail Coach
Front side: Color photo of satellite dishes and a man in a hard hat. Text: “Some take technology for granted. Others take it to the extreme”
Mail Panel side: Blank with this text: “The education of a lifetime. Career opportunities in no time. Open and apply”. It also has a return address with no recognizable logo or name of who sent it.
Inside: When opened the inside contains a photo of electrical technician with text on the right hand side. The basic pitch claims that you can’t get a good job without an education so you should join the Navy. Joining the Navy you’ll have a good career with a purpose and you’ll get up to $70,000 toward a college degree. It also has a business reply card you can tear out and send in for more info.
Offer: A rewarding career with potently over $70,000 to use toward college degree
List: A prospect list – Age select and possibly other demographic selects.
Strong points: The personalized tear-out business reply card. They have also targeted the right demographics. Although it is impossible to tell who sent the mail and what the piece is about without opening it, the mailer will probably get opened. I assume this was by choice. If it is recognized as being from the Navy some may assume it is a recruiting piece and make a decision to toss it without opening it.
Weak points: The offer is vague. “A college degree. Think of it as a benefit, not a requirement.” Copy is confusing and not focused. A small paragraph at the bottom should have been the focal point as it reveals a more emotional and clear reason to consider the Navy.
- US Navy Self-mailer, 8 ½ x 14 folded, four colors (addressed to my daughter)
Score: 40 – The Direct Mail Coach
This was another exact duplicate of the mail piece above. The carrier name and address are exactly the same. I wonder how many duplicates they have unintentionally sent out. This could be costly. They should have processed their data to eliminate the duplications. -10 points more for duplication
The Houston Symphony Postcard, Size: 6 x 11 four colors (addressed to me)
Score: 75 – The Direct Mail Coach
Front side: Santa photo and text: Concert info and text “Let the Houston Symphony bring joy to your world this holiday season”
Mail Panel side: Three individual photos and a lot of copy describing the event plus a few other upcoming shows.
Offer: Very Merry Pops (Christmas concert) Dec. 11, 12 & 13. Get tickets for as low as $29
List: Customer list (I have attended in the past)
Strong points: Targeted and very timely. Nice design, copy and layout.
Weak points: No hard offer. No particular reason to bring card or refer to card when ordering tickets. Individual conductor’s photos not labeled.