Drumming Up Leads with Dimensional Mailers.

The best thing about a small target of high-potential customers is that marketers can afford to spend more money on them. In fact, they better, because everyone else is trying to reach them too. If your customer doesn’t have something different to say, and a different way of presenting their offer, the mailing will get quickly tossed aside.

That’s why elusive, premium prospects are perfect candidates for three-dimensional packages. So put on your creative hat for a few minutes, and let’s look at how you can make dimensional packages pay off for you and your customers.

Why Dimensional Packages Work.

One of the big challenges in moving up the prospect food chain is getting marketing materials past the admin-assistant gatekeepers. The odds of a postcard or self-mailer making the cut are pretty slim. And electronic alternatives such as email are almost unthinkable unless there is a preexisting personal relationship.

What you need is a package that looks personal and stands out from everything else that hits an executive’s desk—or tries to. A box, a tube or other dimensional package that comes personally addressed to the executive, along with a really good headline, is very likely going to get opened. Human curiosity gets the best of all of us, no matter what position we hold. And everyone likes something that seems like a present.

So How Can You Miss?

Easily. Dimensional packages might seem like no brainers (How can you fail with a cushy budget, right?), but just the opposite is true. They need lots of thought and solid creativity to work effectively. To avoid a disaster, let’s look at the two main ways that marketers bring dimensional doom upon themselves:

  • Getting caught up in clever. Dimensional campaigns can go down the tubes (no pun intended) just like the entertaining TV commercials that people like but then don’t buy the product. Remember that there’s a business point to be made, and it can’t get totally lost in the fun.
  • None the less, a dimensional mailer is a big opportunity to be creative. Just remember that your customer still needs to make a case for people wanting to do business with them. It’s your job to help them out if you truly embrace the role of advisor.

  • Coming across as a bribe. This can be a really fine and dangerous line, but encourage your clients to error on the side of caution. My personal guideline is $25. As soon as someone perceives the contents to be inappropriately expensive for a promotion, the campaign is in trouble. Sometimes it’s best to stick with things that relate directly to the marketer’s business.

    Let’s use an example from the printing industry. I developed a dimensional package campaign for a major printer that wanted to reach marketing executives in different sectors. The campaign was multi-stage and went out during the summer with a “grilling” theme. Sales reps got to pick a certain number of prospects that were high potential but contact resistant. Here’s how the program worked:

    • Prospects received three envelope mailings over a short period of time with each consisting of a personalized letter and a one-page case history appropriate to the market and service being promoted. The mailings also included a favorite grill recipe from an executive at the printing company, including a picture of the person and a little personal history behind the recipe.
    • The final mailing came in a box set and included the popular How to Grill cookbook by Steven Raichlen, a product the printer also happened to print and distribute for its publisher client. So the campaign offered a little fun, came across as executive-to-executive and included a useful tie-in premium that demonstrated the printer’s capability. It also was dynamite at getting the attention of difficult-to-reach executives without overstepping the gift-value component.

Are Dimensional Mailers Strictly for Business-to-Business?

Most are, but that’s primarily a function of being able to more easily whittle down a target in the business sector. But again, dimensional mailers are all about creativity, so don’t necessarily think they’re out of the question for consumer marketers.

A quick, simple example is the Republic of Tea catalog, which always includes (or at least mine does) a sample tea packet attached to the cover. It gives the catalog a third dimension, puts it at the top of the pile and gets people to try teas they might never have bought otherwise.

Companies with high-ticket products are also obvious candidates. Manufacturers of luxury automobiles and other premium products can afford to spend more on customer acquisition and have smaller target audiences.

The Time for Dimensional Packages Has Never Been Better?

Although it might sound contradictory, slow economies are ideal for dimensional packages. They force clients to do the all-important database work and follow up, help them stand out even more as their competitors cut back on marketing expenditures and tend to have much higher ROI than conventional direct mail and other marketing efforts.

So why not help your customer develop a creative brief today?

By Larry Bauer

Want Expert Advice?

Bauer Associates helps printers of all sizes develop and execute effective marketing strategies. For more information, email Print Strategist Larry Bauer

You can connect with Larry Bauer on LinkedIn. Or follow him on Twitter. Or join Print Strategist on LinkedIn.

Explore posts in the same categories: Branding, Direct Marketing

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5 Comments on “Drumming Up Leads with Dimensional Mailers.”

  1. Kate Dunn Says:

    Larry,
    The grilling idea is intriguing. What were the results?

  2. Larry Bauer Says:

    Kate, the results were very positive. Virtually everyone accepted the reps’ calls, which was the main objective. These were all high potential, difficult-to-reach people. And the effort resulted in a number of ongoing conversations, proposals and business. Now keep in mind that it was a big printer that had big customers and typically a pretty long sales cycle. So there was time involved in the entire process, with this mailing serving as the door opener.

    On a side note, one person even called and asked if she could use the creative. That wasn’t the objective, of course, but it was a nice compliment, anyway.

  3. Clay Forsberg Says:

    Larry,

    I haven’t thought about dimensional mailers for say … six years. At the time I was working on a variable data application with a firm in Southern California (which will remain nameless). Unfortunately the project went nowhere.

    In today’s current climate of media bombardment – these pieces definitely have their place! Stay on task.

  4. Larry Bauer Says:

    Yeah, Clay, I would agree. It’s so hard to stand out and often so difficult to get someone to take your phone call, that you need to take a different approach. Good dimensional mail programs can help get the job done. They’re more expensive but, as someone once told me, expensive is something that DOESN’T work.


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