5 Best Practices in Direct Mail Design

As a creative who understands production, Patrick Fultz is always trying to tweak existing formats in order to get them to work better or simply inventing new ones. As president/CCO of DM Creative Group in Port Chester, N.Y., he seeks to reinvent the way companies go about customer acquisition, retention and win-back campaigns by combining the power of direct mail and digital marketing output.

One such successful invention is his e-TriggerPro, a platform that automatically triggers coordinated e-mail and SMS messages to mail recipients the day their direct mail piece is delivered.

With 25 years of creative and direct marketing experience, a degree from plus 15 years teaching at Parsons School of Design, and more than 50 industry creative awards, Fultz is currently president/COO of the John Caples International Awards, an international professional direct/interactive creative design competition, now in its 33rd year. His current clients include Musical Heritage Society, Disney, Meredith Publishing and Maximum Exposure Advertising.

Who better to ask about how direct mail can get a design overhaul to help it survive the digital future, if not prosper for certain campaigns?

1. Get Recipients to Stop … and See
“You first need to stop them long enough so they can see if there’s a ‘what’s in it for me’ connection,” describes Fultz. “I see the outer of the mail piece the same as a store window … if I can’t get them to look long enough to walk in the store, they walk on by—or trash my mail piece.”

To create such a successful mail piece, Fultz uses all things available to a designer: format, windows, paper or plastic substrates, printing technique, color, illustration, photography, interactivity, headline, pURLs and gURLs, and, most importantly, offer.

The goal is to stand out, visually and conceptually. “You can’t have one without the other. You’ll stop them, but you’ll lose them if the concept doesn’t hold up and is not relevant to them,” he says.

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