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Mailbox Monday


With royalty-free stock photography as abundant — and inexpensive — as it is these days, it's rare that we receive direct mail with original illustrations. That's just one of the reasons this postcard from Ruby stood out. The other thing we noticed immediately was how it felt. The stock is particularly heavy, which is nice, but also has a brushed finish. The piece actually feels better than anything else in the mail.

The art side hits some small business hot buttons right off the bat: "Go ahead, focus on growing your business! Ruby has you covered." The illustration, which is in a nice retro style that feels like a contemporary interpretation of Mad Men, shows two people working together while "Ruby" answers the phone. Ruby, as we soon learn, is a virtual receptionist, so she's depicted in a thought balloon-type device above the phone itself cheerfully saying, "Hello!" 

The final element on the art side is a two-part offer:

21 Day Money Back Guarantee — depicted in a seal of approval graphic.
A discount. "Experience the Ruby difference today! Get $80 off your first full month of service when you activate by March 17 with promo code SB80."

Flipping the card over to the message/address side, we learn more about Ruby. "No matter what you're doing or where you are, Ruby's world-class receptionists have your phone covered." The need for the service is immediately backed up by research:"Research shows potential customers are making more phone calls than ever." We're encouraged to learn more because "your business can't afford to lose a customer based on a bad acller experience."

The copy is well-organized and easy-to-read. Subheads spell out four key selling points: Apparently, with Ruby, we can:
• Win business
• Provide legendary service.
• Focus on income-producing activities.
• Stay informed and in control anywhere you go.

In order to "delight callers and manage your calls" all we need is Ruby and a smartphone.

One final, super-smart, element is a call-to-action in one of the hottest pieces of postcard real estate. The call-to-action sits in a box right above our name and address. This particular place is often ignored by marketers, yet it's a powerful space for an offer. People tend to look at their name and anything right above it will grab their attention.

So, we really like the creative, the messaging and the use of space. The only problem is ... we don't need this service. AND, we have to wonder if other businesses our size do either. We all have mobile phones (and, as the copy pointed out, you have to have a smartphone to use Ruby). We are never really out of touch with our clients and prospects. Most companies our size do business the same way.

Also, although the "$80 off" offer sounds generous, there's no information about the regular cost of the service. Apparently, it's more than $80 a month, but how much more. The liberal offer almost works against itself. The recipient may assume that the service is very expensive if they can afford to give you $80 off.

A final picky piece of criticism. We don't know when the postcard mailed (standard from Portland, OR), but it arrived after the offer deadline. Ooops.

So, while the Bs at B Direct give the creative a thumbs-up, we're not so sure about the business proposition behind the product itself. Hopefully, there's a market for Ruby. 

We'd hate to see such cool original illustration go to waste.

Things That Go Bump in The Mailbox
"The Envelope, Please ..."

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