Part I: Psychology of the Mailer
Some marketers are in a pickle. The dual go-to components of a direct mail campaign—the list and the offer—may not (and often cannot) change much, as lists are better targeted and cleaner than ever before, and many companies, are giving potential customers "best offers" already. Yet for many mailers, response is down because of tough economic times that many prospects are facing.
One way out of this trap? A "head trip," of course. I'm referring to the so-called psychology of the mailer, and the key part of the creative. If we accept famed direct marketer Ed Mayer's 40-40-20 rule (40 percent lists, 40 percent offer, 20 percent everything else), we're only talking a portion of that 20 percent—but the emotions that the mail piece is able to stir in the prospect (and cooked up in advance by the copywriter) may determine whether he responds or not, or if that package lives or dies.
I spoke with several renowned and successful direct mail copywriters to get a sense of the history of the mail piece's "psychology" and how it can be better leveraged in the future.
It's Time to Reapply 'Psychology'
With so many stressed-out and stretched-thin prospects, the careful psychological design of the mail piece becomes even more important. "I think in this economy, marketers have to work harder at getting it right," says Bob Martel, principal consultant at JMB Marketing Group, located in Marlborough, Mass. "They have to understand the perceived value and give people a compelling reason to part with their hard-earned money—whether it's B-to-B or consumer—because you are competing for their shrinking, expendable revenue right now. So a smart marketer knows how to do that with good copy and an offer that doesn't give away the store, but uses the psychology of marketing to get the points across."