You go out to the mailbox (the real one, not the electronic one) and sort through the big wad of mail that you have addressed to you. Is it just me, or does it seem like at least 75% of US mail these days is garbage made of numerous solicitations and useless marketing offers? Direct mail is one of the most common marketing channels, yet at the same time its response rate is minimal at best, less than 2%. This low response rate can be attributed to minimal market-targeting and the numbness that consumers feel towards most of that stack of mail they receive each day. Thus, direct mail marketers are always trying to find ways to “trick” the recipient into opening the mail.
Every once in a while, I receive unsolicited mail from a particular car dealership in town, and I must admit their sneaky tactic got me to open it… well, the first time it did. They sent a very “official” looking envelope, and in place of a return address, was the whole spiel about the penalty for messing with US mail, “250,000 fine or up to 5 years in prison”, and all that hype… well it must be important, right? So I opened it expecting something like an important document from the IRS or the SSA, neah, not even close! Just about the latest deals on the latest cars! That made me angry. As a result, I will never take part in a purchase from that particular dealership, all because of the one negative experience with their marketing materials.
Just when I think I’ve seen it all, I receive a letter in the mail with a Post-It affixed to the outside of the envelope; with some fake handwriting (they must think we are all so dumb). They’ll try anything to get their piece of mail to stand out from the others and peak your interest! I’ve also received car keys in the mail! Hopefully sometime soon, direct mail marketers will run out of new ideas and stop wasting all those trees. Yet if you think about it, marketers must be getting some sort of payoff via direct mail. Have you seen any sort of decline in “junk mail” over the years? Nope, me neither. Therefore it must be profitable for them to market that way, at least to some extent.