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The b direct logo Hive

Mailbox Monday

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Direct mail marketing, something that the Bs have proudly called a vocation for nearly two decades, involves the head and the heart. Promotion and emotion. Words and pictures and a veritable ton of tried and true techniques (or tricks, if you'd rather) that can increase attention, engagement, and that all important reaction: response.

Some practitioners — and consequently, some packages — rely too much on the tricks of the trade, to the detriment of other more aesthetically pleasing elements.

But, some find a balance between working hard and looking good. We received just such a package from American Express this week.

First of all: the feel of it — in a mailbox filled with invoices, statements, tax documents, and even "thank you" cards, the 6 x 9 American Express package took advantage of a sleek, elegant, and weightier than average paper stock. Complete with spot varnish, it literally felt too good to throw away.

The artwork didn't hurt either. Full bleed coverage with a color photo of a busy businesswoman multitasking from what is probably a home office (timely) and a full-size image of the card. Other envelope elements include branding ("Keep your business moving forward with the Business Platinum Card") and an attractive, easy-to-understand offer ("Earn 85,000 Membership Rewards Points"). Our only criticism (and in an upscale package like this one, it shouldn't be underestimated) is that B Direct Marketing Communications had somehow transformed into B Direct Mktg Cmmnications.

Um ... Creative spelling is never a good excuse for inaccurate personalization.

Inside, a brief, but thorough letter continues the package's lesson in direct mail 101. There's an eye-catching Johnson Box (in a sidebar rather than on top, but it still counts); scannable copy including informative, benefit-driven subheads and graphically presented bullets; a clear call-to-action with multiple options to respond; even a QR code, which aren't that fashionable anymore, but still work and rarely do any harm.

A four-panel barrel-fold brochure complements the outer envelope's look and feel and offers an engaging way to learn more. The "rewards" theme continues as brief (again, scannable) copy promotes all the privileges of the platinum-level card. Icons and subheads guide the reader (especially the reader who doesn't have the time or inclination to consume body copy), and, again, there's a prominent call-to-action.

Finally, a standard rates and terms and conditions insert is printed on lighter paper than the rest of the elements, to (a) save money and (b) fade into the background.

All in all, the package is a great combination of building brand and generating demand.

The Bs at B Direct give the package a thumbs up.

Now, if they had only spelled "Communications" correctly. (Audible sigh.)

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