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A New Approach to Mailings

by Jennifer Stewart | Feb 28, 2013 | AdviceDesign

Since the world of promotions has moved online, the promotional mailer has become a rare commodity, and because of this, a valuable one. Never has the walk from the mailbox to the front door or desk allowed companies to have such uninterrupted time with their customer. A perfect example of this seldom appreciated phenomenon came in the form of the above envelope.

This mailer from the fabulous French Paper Company was dropped at my desk by an office mate who upon placing it on my desk said with jealousy, “You always get the coolest mail.” Another office buddy stopped by my desk a moment later and said “Ooo! What’s that? Where’s it from?” Well, actually, it was just an envelope containing 10 sample sheets of blank paper for a project. Just blank sheets of paper. Not exactly what one would call “the coolest mail.”

When I think about it, though, the office we share has about 15 people in it and we receive a very tiny stack of mail each day. The vast majority of these items are white envelopes with the occasional magazine or catalog. If our daily mail is any indicator, and I think it is, then standing out from the crowd in the average mail stack isn’t exactly difficult these days.

However I would contend that it does require good design to stand out. When you look at the mailer from French Paper what impresses people is not its size or shape or even that it’s colored. It’s that the envelope is fascinating to look at. You don’t need to open the envelope to enjoy it. In fact, the envelope itself, while communicating nothing more than the contact info and personality of the company, is itself a joy to receive.

That’s the goal of any effective mailer, any promo, or any letter. It should be a joy to receive. If the person who gets your mailer pauses to look at it, puts the rest of the mail down and opens yours first, you’ve won the promo battle.

This envelope is now sitting in our inspiration box where we store anything with design that we like. Your mailer may not be preserved for eternity like this, unless of course you have a mailing list populated by hoarders, but there is a good chance that a well designed mailer that sits on someones desk for any length of time will garner some attention from people other than the recipient. That doesn’t happen with email.

Now I’m not saying that email promos are bad. We certainly know that a well timed, succinctly written, well designed email can do very well and is cheaper than a mailing. However, I do think that the promotional mailer is alive and well and would be foolish to abandon completely.

Almost every company can benefit from a mailer program that goes out just a few times a year. And because mailers no longer need to be frequent to be effective, the budget for your mailers can be increased to afford unique designs, printing, samples, materials, and shapes that can help them be a joy to receive and wouldn’t have been possible with a frequent semi-monthly campaign.

Just remember that mail can now be fun to receive. Remember when you were a kid and you got your first letter? Maybe it came around the time you were a senior in high school and a college sent you a promo. You felt like Holy cow, these people must really want me at their school! Well, the promotional mailer can be like that again. You have a chance to make an impression, so why not have fun with it?

Jennifer Stewart is the Office Manager and wanna-be organizational psychologist at Modern Species. For more posts from her, click here.

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There are many things that we would throw away, if we were not afraid that others might pick them up.- Oscar Wilde