Let’s consider what some people regard as just another buzz term: “content marketing.” Despite all the hype, the concept really wasn’t invented yesterday. Some mailers have been doing it for years. Let’s look at three examples of mailers successfully using relevant content marketing to stand out in the mailbox.
R. Crusoe & Son, a luxury travel marketer, mails slim-jim catalogs. They’re packed with beautiful, high-quality photography and rich, evocative copy that’s long on background that creates intrigue. Here’s how a description for a trip to Peru begins: “Shaken-not stirred. That’s how you’ll want your pisco sour in Peru. The national drink is just one reason (and not a bad one) to head to the land of the Inca.”
Williams-Sonoma has long understood the connection between its customers and the products that the company offers in its catalogs and website. In a recent catalog, Williams-Sonoma provides a recipe for some beautifully photographed chicken and spring vegetable soup laid out with a photo of the Le Creuset dutch oven and other kitchen tools the company thinks the prospect should use to make it.
Trader Joe’s, a beloved grocery store chain with a strong following, regularly mails its “Fearless Flyer.” It’s a brochure, usually running about two-dozen pages, with whimsical images, long product descriptions, and it even includes a shopping list to be clipped out and brought to the store for ease of shopping.
So, why do all of these mailings work so well in creating engagement? There are many reasons, but I’ll give you a three:
- They all don’t merely sell, but tell (and show), whether it’s a story, a couple of interesting facts, or a just a surefire way to make great soup.
- They have unique personalities that are definitely not boring.
- They build the credibility of their brand because they show how passionate they about their products and they’re eager to share their expertise.
This is what helps to make for great marketing. Earn a customer’s business by making it exciting and interesting to shop with you.
Paul Bobnak is the director of Who's Mailing What!, the most complete, searchable and fully online library of direct mail and email in the world. He has read and analyzed thousands of direct mail packages (offers, copy, designs, incentives and formats) and email in more than 200 industry categories, including retail, nonprofits, insurance, telecom, B-to-B, financial services and publishing. He writes for the e-newsletter Today @ Target Marketing and has been a judge in NonProfit PRO's Gold Awards for Fundraising Excellence since 2006.