Direct Mail in omni-channel marketing

Observations from the recent NEDMA show about what’s new and what’s next in marketing


Anxiety, awe, wonder, fear. If you want a social media post to go viral, according to Neuromarketing expert Nancy Harhut, these are the feelings you want to inspire. And negative superlatives (the worst kind) outperform positive superlatives by 69%. Best news ever, NOT. Harhut’s presentation at the New England Direct Marketing Association spring marketing conference was more upbeat than this might sound. Citing study after study, Carhut gave marketers some fact-based insights, some of which seem intuitive, others not.

Framing. How you present information can make a big difference in audience reaction. Harhut used as an example the question: “Can you smoke while you pray?” which tends to illicit a negative response. Well, no, it’s not a good idea to light up a butt while you are engaging the divine. But reframe the question using the precise same words in a different order and the response flips to positive: “Can you pray while you smoke?” Well, yes, yes you can. And it might be a good thing to do do, considering the health implications of smoking.

Scarcity which drives a sense of urgency and exclusivity is powerful.

Availability bias and other mental shortcuts by which the audience immediately associates with their experience also work.

Type as a Tool. $120.00 seems larger than $120, so if you are talking about savings, use the former. Spending, use the latter. If you want people to think something is small, use small type—$5 fee, for example. Men respond better to sale prices in red. If you want something to seem low, put it low on the page. The word “giveaway” is more compelling than “promotion.”

Is everything better with a label? Yes! During the break, Nick Calvetti approached Harhut to ask if she had any data to prove that people are more attracted to printed pieces and envelopes which feature attractive labels. Although she didn’t know of any studies on the subject, she suspected that labels would draw positive attention due to their specialness, the way they stand out one layer from the sheet, and the attraction to the eye.

MarketReach Inc. presenters broke down the buyers journey into phases, each with its own preferred sales tools. Their materials are copyrighted with a request not to distribute, so this list is generalized.

  1. Engagement includes campaign planning and lead qualification
  2. Initial Customer contact: Target list, campaign landing page, banner ads, email campaign, newsletter, speaking engagements, advertising
  3. Mindshare is built with videos, white papers, stories, testimonials, blogs
  4. Relationship building includes workshops, webinars, consultation, special offers
  5. Prove and Close: onsite trials, trade-up programs, live demos, sales presentation.

Other points shared:

Prospects are interested in insights and perspectives, solutions for problems, customer stories and metrics.

Design web pages with a “mobile first” mindset. 25% of people are mobile-only users.

90% of prospects are not ready to buy when initially reached so a “lead incubation program” is needed. Only 50% of sales are closed by the first contact person.

Videos work. 59% of executives are more likely to watch a video than to read content. YouTube grows by 100% each year. After one-minute, videos have a 75% attrition rate. Adobe Premiere is the go-to video production software. Voiceover sites like and are a resource for narration.

Customer Journey Mapping” and gap analysis were topics that came up at NEDMA. Being “true to your brand promise” and understanding boomers, Gen x, Gen y and millennials were other hot buttons. A panel discussion on the impact of combining digital and direct mail offered the advice, “Create littles fires because you don’t know which will ignite or how long they will last.” EM, DM, EM was recommended, the sequence of outreaches through e-mail, direct mail and follow-up e-mail.

Keynote speaker Coakley Workman stole the show with his presentation about the power of the US postal service, the ongoing impact and relevance of mail. His handout, IRRESISTIBLE demonstrates interactive print, using QR codes, “share mail” and other novelties, tricks and trends. Amherst Label’s bumpy mail programs are shining examples of the impact of tactile mail.

Coakley Workman of the US Postal Service shares his love of mail.

Fellow exhibitors offered mailing and fulfillment services and were interested in Amherst Label’s giveaways. Owner Nick Calvetti managed to give away most of our textured-label seed packs of wildflowers and also plugged our lint lifters nicely. The velvet touch envelopes and stiff mailers were one of the last finds we made at the show. We plan to follow up on these with our colleagues at Classic Envelope.




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