Direct Marketing Monday – Oct. 3, 2011

A cold and soggy Monday in October…one of those grey days that follows a grey weekend and leaves you wondering how it’s already Monday again.  Well, at least these aren’t the days back in Montreal where occasionally I would have been saying, “How is it possible for there to be flurries outside?  October just started!”

Anyway, another Monday means another Direct Marketing Monday.  Usually I try to provide some links of various things that I found interesting in the past week, but this week I have something on my mind that I think doesn’t receive enough attention: the creative behind the DM piece.

These days, there are so many different ways to market to potential donors or even to your existing donors.  You can use an actual mail piece, have a targeted interactive campaign, broadcast, radio, social…the list goes on (read on in the next few weeks about properly integrating these strategies).  So when it comes to spending all of the time and money that goes into an actual mail piece (something that is going to be communicating your message) you really can’t afford to overlook the creative going into the piece.

Sure, there are other important things you have to consider that can help make your mailing efficient, such as running Address Accuracy, National Change of Address, merge purge or even doing targeted mailings, but creative is where you can really make your move. 

I was reading a post a couple of weeks ago about the “Wow Factor” in marketing pieces and how it can be lacking (see and I got to thinking about some of the pieces I receive at home.  While there are a lot of pieces missing that wow factor, there are a lot of pieces that also have that “Ick Factor”.  What I have started to realize is that in an effort to really be impactful and deliver a hard hitting message, some organizations may be risking offending potential donors or customers.

It’s a fine line.  You want to communicate a message or create a strong brand identity, but at the same time, nobody likes having things forced on them or having somebody get up in their face about it.  This is why companies need to listen to their creative departments and agencies, but even more important, there needs to be more careful planning and more integration between the two.  Within organizations themselves, there needs to be more communication between research departments and creative so that there is a singular view of not only who the target market is, but how they should be targeted and exactly what the hot points are.   If they spend more time throwing around some ideas and ironing out where things are going from a communication standpoint, the message will be more effectively delivered (and received).

When organizations spend so much money on their mail pieces, the creative angle just can’t be ignored.  I’ll be keeping my eye on the mail slot to see what comes to my door!

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