Why is Your Mailbox Full of Marketing Messages?

Question: Why is Your Mailbox Full of Marketing Messages?

Mitch Talenfeld

If direct mail no longer works, why are businesses spending enormous amounts of money doing these mailings when they could send email messages for a fraction of the cost? Are the people running these companies stupid?

Or have they unlocked the secret formula to making this marketing channel a success?

Everything begins with Information and Data

Data about people and your customers is everywhere. The first step is to figure out what is ailing them, then solve their problems and improve their lives.

How much do you know about your target market and when does it make sense to use direct mail?

Direct mail marketing is like a 3-legged stool. If you break one of the legs, the stool will crash down. The 3 legs of a direct mail marketing campaign are (1) list, (2) creative and (3) messaging/offer. Screw any of these up and your direct mail campaign will fail, or at least not work as cost-effectively as you would like.

The 3 legs of direct mail:

The List – The most important element of a great direct mail marketing campaign is your list. If you get this wrong, nothing else matters. Are you purchasing a list or using your in house customer or prospect database? Is the list up-to-date and has it been cleaned? Are you able to identify exactly what people on the list need?

Your Creative – If you are sending your mailing out to the right people at the right time, are they noticing and then reading what you have to say? You only have one or two seconds to get people to notice your mail. Grabbing people’s attention and getting them to read your message is critical to the success of your campaign. As we have already established, people get a lot of mail. You want it to work? Make sure it gets noticed and read!

Would great pictures or graphics help people identify with a need and make them want to know more? Would adding something inside of the envelope such as a plastic card or a magnet create bulk and get them curious about the contents inside of the envelope? Or would handwriting the address on the envelope draw people in and get them to spend time reading what you have to say? Any creative that gets people to think about your company and your message accomplishes your goal.

Messaging/Offer – If you have identified a target audience and gotten your recipients’ attention you’ve won half the battle. Now, if you get the messaging, your offer and your call-to-action right, your campaign will be a success. Suggestions to incorporate include:

  • Personalization: People will read what interests them. If you know what people want, give it to them. If you have a company with multiple products or services and someone’s requested information about one of your services, don’t waste their time sending them generalized information that may or may not capture their attention. Focus on people’s needs and you’ll have success.
  • Features vs. Benefits: A feature is a fact about your product, service or your company. A benefit is how your product, service or your company helps your customers. People don’t care about you. They care about how you can benefit them. How you can save them money, save them time, solve their problem or simplify their lives. It is up to you to differentiate your company from your competitors in way that shows customers how much more you are helping people solve their problems and get what they want or need.
  • Your Offer: Your offer can make or break your campaign. The word FREE grabs attention! Which sounds better; (1) Free Dinner… buy three dinners and get a third dinner of equal value free or (2) Save 33% off dinner for a family of 3?
  • Call to Action: Tell people what to do and they will do it. Don’t forget to make sure your messaging gives people a reason to respond right then and tells them what to do to get them what they want!

What is omnichannel marketing and communications and how can it improve your results?

One of the most effective approaches in marketing today is omnichannel marketing. Creating a campaign that utilizes multiple marketing and communication channels. And what many people do not realize is by including a strong direct mailing as part of your campaign, it can often make the difference between the success and failure.

  • Lead nurturing is a great use-case for adding multiple channels to a campaign. Many companies have CRM and enterprise software systems that help companies send out emails and do text messaging to reach out to their customers and prospects. But the more we experiment, the more we have found that email and text messaging often needs help to succeed.
  • Test new channels. Try testing chatbots that can help you set appointments and demos. Try testing personalized direct mail. Invest in paid social to surround your prospects with your messaging. Omnichannel marketing done in an automated coordinated fashion can improve your returns on investment!


I started this article asking why your mailbox was full of marketing messages and ended it by discussing omnichannel marketing. Defining and understanding what motivates your target market to purchase your product or service can be quite the challenge. But establishing what motivates your customers and prospects is critical to your success as a marketer or business person. The more you know, the better off you will be.

On a personal note, in my early 20’s I sold various items door-to-door. It was then that I realized how different people are, their needs, their wants and their desires. I became a student of marketing, testing ideas, learning about the importance of tracking and measuring results, and yes, I became a true believer in direct mail.

We are in a day and age where technology is changing everything. Marketing and communication channels are moving targets as people and technology evolves. One day something works. And the next day it doesn’t. But one constant that I have found, with all that our marketing team does, is that personalized messaging put in a person’s hands via direct mail is still one of the best ways to motivate them to act.