On a more fundamental level, after 36 years in this business, I have never, NEVER seen a self-mailer outpull a so-called “classic” package (envelope, letter, etc.) in a true, head-to-head test. Yet, I now see more and more self-mailers in my in-basket. What’s your viewpoint on this?
I absolutely agree. When I got into direct marketing in the 1960s, the linchpin was the letter—”the main salesman” as freelancer Mal Decker said. The letter—that intimate, me-to-you message that talks benefits (as opposed to features, which belong in the brochure—is designed to make an emotional connection between writer and reader. The folks writing today do not seem to be comfortable with emotion. Exception: the fund raising crowd. The late guru Dick Benson said that the more stuff in a direct mail package, the better it pulls. Obviously this cannot apply to self mailers.
Denny, today’s column was the best short course in DM core principles I’ve ever seen. Put a cover on it, sent it to a POD publisher, and call it DM Marketing/Creative 101.
I always enjoy your newsletter but I had to write to tell you how delighted I was to see today’s issue which quoted my mentor and dear friend Dorothy Kerr. Dottie was my first boss; she hired me as a direct mail copywriter for her agency in Washington in 1976 and she’s still my idol. I ended up following in her footsteps and started my own DM agency 14 years ago. Thirty years after I met her, I still find myself remembering and practicing the tried-and-true best practices of direct marketing that Dorothy taught me so many years ago! What happy memories your column brought back to me today!
It’s ironic that Vermillion’s main product is a powerful dm tool, but they lack basic dm skills. Saw a huge billboard today, right on I-94 in downtown Milwaukee, advertising CRM software. Seems to me that a company capable of designing CRM software should have the skills to find their target audience a bit more directly.