How to Dress Up Direct Mail

Those familiar with the marketing industry know that nearly anything is possible when it comes to print and mailing. However, managing budgetary, logistical and ROI concerns is what gives us pros the expertise to develop the smartest mailing campaigns for our organizations or clients. Recent studies show that dimensional mail produces higher response rates than other direct mail formats. Recently, marketers have reported response rates anywhere between 25% and 50%.

So, what’s new in dimensional mail?

It is not just about sending something fancy; it’s all about engaging clients and prospects. Every day we receive letters, postcards and flat mailers and if they don’t grab your attention, they are quickly discarded. The Winterberry Group reports that 63% of consumers said they were more likely to open a direct mail piece that came in an interesting package. Dimensional mail maintains effectiveness in engaging the recipient based on shape or appearance alone, but you’ll be much better off to take the extra steps in delivering a stand out message.

• Make it pop! Sending an item that is playful or requiring some assembly extends the engagement. This takes the recipient from being intrigued enough to open your mailer, to engaging with the meaning behind it and more likely to take another step toward action.

• Make your dimensional mail campaign shareable and memorable. Social media is not the only way to get target customers to share something. In fact, it could be argued that a clever mailer, being physically shown to a friend or co-worker, has a higher impact than sharing something only on social media in the hopes that the right people will see it and share it. Bonus – if the mailer is something useful that they might save and use over and over again you will extend your brand recognition.

Beware of budgeting and boxing

Of course, some dimensional mail can cause great production challenges. It is easy to get caught up in the fun, imaginative possibilities of a dimensional campaign and forget about cost of production and postage. Mailers can integrate the latest print technologies with old-fashioned hand-assembly that can require a high-level of precision. The production of dimensional mail can also take longer than traditional flat mail.

  • Almost anything can be mailed if you’re willing to pay the price – first class postage, Custom Market Mail fees or high shipping rates. The USPS will mail bags, cans and drums (properly sealed and within weight and size specs) – even coconuts! You may have to pay an extra non-automation rate, but the impact may be worth it. A document bag, bank bag or sport bottle can act as both gift and package in one.
  • Dimensional mail will cost more than a letter, traditional mailer or postcard, but it’s not about the cost – it is about the value – the return on investment. The increased engagement that comes with dimensional mail and the increased response rates may make it worth it to you and your organization. The extra steps in making a standout package or envelope can only increase your chances of reaching your targets. In any case, sort out the details sooner rather than later, so that you might save on cost and reap a higher ROI.
  • If dimensional mail isn’t in your budget, consider being creative with unique envelope sizes, colored envelopes, unusual envelope windows or a teaser printed boldly on the outside of the envelope. A letter in a FedEx or ExpressMail package can sometimes be as enticing as a dimensional mail piece – and may be more affordable. One of the benefits of the FedEx or ExpressMail package is that it is immediately given importance and gets through to the intended recipient. Consider all available shipping services including UPS, Fedex and USPS. Work with your strategic printing partner to establish the size, weight, packaging and most cost effective shipping method early on to avoid custom production or other costly services that may not be necessary.
Additionally, The United States Postal Service is undergoing many changes – from the closing of 229 processing facilities to the enactment of new postal regulations. Most of these regulation changes will be effective January 2013. When it comes to being budget conscious, it is very important to be aware of the changes so that any negative impact is minimized. So, if you are planning to launch a direct mail campaign of any kind, especially dimensional, be certain to work with a print and fulfillment partner that is knowledgeable about the new regulations and can help you keep cost down.

Direct marketing encompasses a variety of tactics today and they all have their place. The customization and versatility that direct mail offers is still very effective in getting new clients into the sales funnel. Mailings are also great tactics for integrating marketing campaigns, as they can lead customers to something online, on social or even in-person. Direct mail continues to be the key component of direct marketing.

By Deborah Simpson, President Multi-Craft

About the Author:
Deborah Simpson has been the president of Multi-Craft for more than twenty years. Multi-Craft is a privately-held marketing services and support company founded in 1955, providing strategic marketing support, creative and print services, mailing, fulfillment and database management for businesses seeking opportunity and growth in their market. Its focus is to develop solutions with measurable results and ROI for a long-term business partnership. For more information visit: www.Multi-Craft.com.

Yes, I Am Thankful!

This is the time of year when we begin to be pulled in two directions. We are looking both backward at what the past year has held and making bold plans for the upcoming new year. Looking backward is sometimes thought to be unproductive, but I feel that looking backward can be beneficial. Where were your successes? Are they repeatable? Where were your failures? Can lessons be learned to prevent future missteps? I have no problem making a mistake once – it’s when I repeat it that I become frustrated. So, looking back and analyzing those successes and failures can be good life lessons to help the upcoming year be more productive and fruitful. Looking forward is often just guesswork. No one truly knows what the future will hold, but we usually have a general idea. Planning for the upcoming year allows you to do a little “dreaming”. What if this? What if that? What would happen if I . . . ?” This type of blue sky thinking can be very helpful when looking at new directions. Obviously, the important part is ensuring that what you risk is far less than what you can gain if you implement those plans. So, here we are looking backward and gazing forward and what is staring us right in the face? Today, this minute, this second. While we’ve been reminiscing about the past and dreaming about the future, the present was ticking away. Living in the now can insure that you are wringing every little piece of happiness and joy from each day. I realize that I can’t just focus on this second. I know that future planning is vital for success and that learning from past mistakes is helpful. But, on Thursday, when my family sits down for Thanksgiving Dinner, I will be focused on the excited faces of my adorable grandchildren and the tears in the eyes of my 87-year-old father as he beholds four generations of his family gathered together. I will enjoy the turkey, dressing and all of the trimmings and still make sure there is a little room left for my sister’s Apple Pie! I doubt if I’ll be thinking about the past or the future – just about this one delightful moment in time. The team at Multi-Craft would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our clients and vendors a happy and blessed Thanksgiving Day! And, know that when you’re ready to put those future ideas in motion, we will use all that we have learned to insure that your campaigns will bring you success! www.multi-craft.com.

Monetizing Social Media – Why It Hasn’t Worked So Far

This is a guest post from David Baker. Enjoy! So many blogs and articles now are focusing on content. It seems to be King, Queen, Bishop, Knight and Pawn all rolled into one. The cries from the battlement are Content, Content, and more Content!  Content always has and will be important, but now more than ever, context is the qualifier for content. Back in the day, the mediums were print, radio and TV.  The contexts were simple – print, TV and to some extent radio, were segmented by drama, comedy, lifestyle and news. Radio has always been more generational in content, but always included those same categories. The shows that inhabited those categories were focused at three demographics – women, men and children. The context of the show determined the advertising content – Soaps were for women, Action Shows and Sports for men, Cartoons for children and Comedies for all. It sure was easy back then! The reason you wouldn’t see spray starch advertised on Monday Night Football in 1970 is the same reason it wouldn’t happen today. No matter how good the content, the context is wrong.  The biggest difficulty in monetizing social media in general, and Facebook in particular, is that there is no consistent context. Facebook may have 50,000,000 users, but each user is a context unto itself with a unique subset of content. What is passed among users (the shared content) is not at this time, capture-able or measurable on a granular level. There is, as of yet, no way to group Facebook users in demo/psychographic categories that would resemble a strata of meaningful target audiences. At this point, Facebook’s reach is the 2012 equivalent of free-standing inserts, which seems to be the antithesis of the social media premise: you’re track-able, define-able and measure-able. Except for now, you’re not.  Someday soon, the data mavens and number crunchers will figure it out. Then social media analytics will be able to show that I chew only mint gum, eat Amy’s Pesto pizza, have 277 friends, 35 that have 9 intersecting areas of interest, 12 that have 21 areas of intersecting interest, 1 that looks like my social twin, 3 that share my interest in Brindle Border Collies and that I have a high propensity score for purchasing a blue Fiat 500L (with the larger engine) sometime in the next 5 weeks.  We will know more about one another than we need to, care to or want to, and Big Data will seem puny by comparison. We will enter the realm of MEGA GIGA DATA. Then, thought leaders will ponder the next big/small thing. Maybe we can market to people using their DNA as the high level qualifier and drilling down the gene sequence for really targeted messaging.  That’s probably when the next generation will decide to go underground.

Cincinnati Commercial Printer Signs UK

Multi-Craft lands printing contract with University of Kentucky

Cincinnati, OH -October 22, 2012– Recently, the University of Kentucky signed a contract with Multi-Craft, a Newport-based provider of print and marketing support services. The contract, entitled “University of Kentucky Full Service Printing Contract”, is a big success for Multi-Craft.

“This contract is very meaningful to our team.  We are proud to provide services to many colleges and universities throughout Ohio and Kentucky, and are happy for the opportunity to expand that list to include UK,” said Deborah Simpson, President of Multi-Craft.

Multi-Craft serves clients throughout the greater Cincinnati region and has been looking for opportunities to further expand in the Lexington area in recent years.  In March, Multi-Craft was recognized with one gold and two silver ADDY awards from the Lexington chapter, which are now making their way to national competition.

This contract with the University of Kentucky has certainly solidified the success of Multi-Craft’s growth further into the state.

To see some of Multi-Craft’s award-winning work, please visit: www.Multi-Craft.com.

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About Multi-Craft

Multi-Craft is a privately-held marketing services and support company founded in 1955, providing strategic marketing support, creative and print services, mailing, fulfillment and database management for businesses seeking opportunity and growth in their market. Its focus is to develop solutions with measurable results and ROI for a long-term business partnership. For more information visit: www.Multi-Craft.com