Stop wasting marketing dollars and start getting creative

To get a clear picture of how much money marketers waste each week all most people have to do is simply take out the trash.

Every week marketers send out thousands upon thousands of pieces of direct mail. If they’re lucky, some will get a quick second look by their recipients before they end up in the garbage or recycling bin. Along with the money, marketers time and effort are also being taken out with the trash.

When most people find direct mail in their inboxes, the immediately classify it as “junk” and quickly dispose of it. To really catch your audience’s attention, you have to find a creative way to get noticed and make people take a second look.

Because we all receive multiple pieces of junk mail daily, it takes a truly creative approach to stand out from the crowd. Will V. at The Better Response Blog recently tacked the issue and shared some ingenious examples of direct marketing that isn’t a waste of money.

Two dollar bill DM campaign, The Better Response Blog

Two dollar bill DM campaign, The Better Response Blog

The first example is of a piece by the Seattle Art Museum to promote the Life Liberty and Pusuit of Happiness exhibit. The marketing piece took the form of a two dollar bill, something most people don’t see everyday. Will admitted he’d likely read it before throwing it away. At least it’s a step up from landing directly in the trash, without so much as a slight glance.

“The point I am trying to make is we should always try to create a piece that no one else is creating. Part of marketing is to stand out and not be typical. Being typical will not catch any attention and is a waste of money. This may be a thought that is always in the back of our minds, but we don’t always factor it into our marketing initiatives,” Will says.

Will showed another good example of a direct mail campaign that not only stood out from the crowd, but was “highly personalized.” As part of a sensory-based direct mail campaign, Proximity London crafted a letter made entirely out of chocolate. Yes, real chocolate.

I don’t know about you, but receiving a chocolate letter in the mail would catch my attention close to 100% of the time. Before I devoured it, you could bet that I would also be spreading the message and showing the piece to everyone in the office.

We’re not expecting you to go out and print your next direct mail piece on chocolate, but if you do just make sure I’m on the mailing list. What we’re saying is that it’s time to start getting really creative with your marketing.

“Do not send out postcards because your competitors are sending out postcards. Send out something you know your competitors will not be sending out. Remember, you are not just competing with your competitors’ pieces, but with the 50 gazillion other pieces who are not even from the same industry,” Will adds.

Ask yourself truthfully if you would stop and read what your company is mailing out. If you think it’s going to land in the trash, it’s time to rethink your idea. Stop wasting your marketing dollars and start grabbing people’s attention.

What creative techniques have you used recently in your marketing to grab your audience’s attention? Or, have you been the recipient of a cool piece of direct marketing? Let us know about it …

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2 responses to “Stop wasting marketing dollars and start getting creative

  1. The best marketing piece I ever got saved my life…ok, less drama, it made it so I could change a tire. It was a Swiss Army knife. I even remember the people who sent it to me.

    The worst…was a box with a broken whistle in it. I opened the box, saw the whistle, pulled it out and gave it a try. Nada. I noticed that the “Bell” or the round ball was out of the whistle. When the company followed up with me, I complained about it. Their response was that they had done that intentionally, so people would get the feeling that their current “methods” were not working.

    I got what they were trying to say, and quite frankly, I hated their guts. They had sent me a broken whistle, and wasted my time. I know that is a “way too strong” reaction to a marketing campaign, but the happy side is that I now can’t remember who they are, or even what they did. I blotted them from my mind….which, to some may be just as bad as hating them.

  2. Wow. That’s bad.

    Whenever someone is calling your company to complain about a marketing piece (and I’m sure you weren’t the only one), you know there’s something seriously wrong with your marketing idea.

    Bad marketer, but great story. Thanks Wrich!

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