2010 Predictions: Will High-Impact Mail Increase or Decrease?
Amid the economic woes have been constant calls and predictions that mail will get smaller, slicker, cheaper. Frankly, it's a little depressing. Can you imagine the general advertising folks saying their billboards were going to be smaller, their TV ads only 10 seconds long and were opting for bus bumper stickers rather than the bus itself. In a word? No.
Direct mailers, copywriters and multichannel direct marketers similarly have to say no. While the downsized mailer makes sense on occasion, there are plenty of good reasons to use more high-impact mail in 2010, along with unusual formats, inventive freemiums and personalized content like gift cards.
"People are people, and I'm not convinced we'll ever outgrow our curiosity about boxes, lumpy packages and other unusual mailings," remarks Nancy Harhut, former SVP/managing director of relationship marketing at Hill Holliday and executive creative director of Harhut for Hire. "I just returned from judging the John Caples International Awards show, and the 3-D category was healthily entered from around the world."
Now, the B-to-B marketplace — with bigger budgets and bigger clients who require bigger mail to be impressed — may dominate 3-D mail, but there's opportunities for smaller companies that go out to smaller lists to also utilize high-impact mail.
Similarly, Harhut also doesn't believe we will suddenly lose our desire for free stuff. And free stuff usually comes in those lumpy packages, and prospects know that.
Of course, as with any package, tread carefully the more stuff you put into it. "High-impact can work for the right audience and for the right purpose. However, a major effect of the economic downtown is perception of frivolity," asserts Merritt Engel, VP of the direct marketing agency Merrigan & Co. She mentions that when a piece appears to be "over the top," it can be perceived negatively among certain recipients (especially in the nonprofit world).