Making The Most of “Lumpy Mail”
Direct mail is one of the best marketing strategies for any business or organization. It is more likely to be retained by the recipient, passed along to other people, and create an emotional connection with readers. Physical communications can help the sender seem natural to the receiver.
Every marketing strategy needs to get the recipients’ attention before it can lead to action. This week I recalled one of our most memorable direct mail campaigns.
Bagwell Marketing has been providing marketing services to other businesses for thirty years. We generally find our clients through networking, direct mail, internet marketing, social media, and word of mouth.
The “Lumpy Mail” Concept Works
First, What is “Lumpy Mail”? It’s a term used to describe direct marketing mailers that stand out from ordinary flat letters, flyers, or postcards because of an additional object to make them ‘lumpy.’
The concept behind this type of direct mail is that instead of being flat, lumpy mail is packaged, and the message comes in a box or envelope, so it has length, width, and depth. That makes it stand out from everything else in the post office box and increases the likelihood that the message will register and be remembered—mainly if it is clever or very compatible with the company’s business or service. There is less chance of someone throwing it out.
In some cases, more senior-level executives often have an admin assistant open their mail. That person may be trained to discard advertising mail. An admin assistant is likelier to pass this along if they find it exciting or unique.
The term “Lumpy Mail” has been around for a long time. Dan Kennedy, a noted direct marketing expert, has used this concept to create record-breaking campaigns for all kinds of businesses.
The Toilet Paper Campaign- A Case Study
One of the most successful campaigns of “Lumpy Mail” was actually for our own business. Rather than sending just another postcard, brochure, or flyer, we designed a “lumpy mail” piece that would get noticed.
In this campaign, Bagwell Marketing packaged toilet paper with a message: “when it hits the wall, give us a call..” Of course, our intention was to lighten the mood at the office and increase awareness of our services.
We had 800 addresses on our Best Prospects List. To test the campaign’s effectiveness, we decided to send our packages to 200 of them in the first mailing.
Three of the recipients immediately complained that they were offended by this campaign. Others, however, seemed to love it or have no opinion.
With the toilet paper, packaging, and postage, we spent about $5 for each of the 200 pieces we sent. Three new projects resulted, so our return was more than three times the original cost. Even with the criticisms, this campaign was a financial success.
And, 30 months later we received a call from another of the recipients. The marketing director had just let their ad agency go and she thought of us. She had the TP on her desk; it had become a great conversation piece last year. That prompted her to call, and we gained an excellent new account.
Lumpy Mail as an Option
This campaign illustrates some of the qualities of lumpy mail:
- It is more expensive to send than flat mail so it is best used with qualified prospects.
- Because it is different, it is more likely than other communications to be passed along to the decision-makers by the gatekeepers at the company.
- The likelihood of a reaction is more significant.
- The more surprising the mailing is, the more comprehensive the range of the responses will be. Some people will love it, and others will find reasons to be critical.
- Expect some negative responses with almost anything you do. Try to plan how you will handle it.
For more information on Lumpy Mail see Direct Response Marketing