Ray worked with B-2-B and Consumer clients throughout the world ... including USA, Canada, Mexico, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the Middle-East, Central & South America, Africa.

This website is a compilation of Ray's 10 years on the Web.

Power Direct Marketing article INDEX

Direct Mail for Toronto

Each year I attend the Annual Conference of the USA Direct Marketing Association.

Have done this for 30 years plus. Each year the trade show is a draw - it gets bigger ... sometimes ever better. This year the conference was staged in Toronto. And the trade show was no different ... it was big.

Because direct mail continues to be a leading direct marketing tool, let's look at the mail exhibitors used to drive attendance to their stand.

The literally hundreds of companies exhibiting know the importance of reaching out to attendees. Many trade shows make their pre-registration list available. The DMA is no exception. Many exhibitors begin several weeks before the Conference - with a direct mail effort. This is a report of the direct mail I received this year for the DMA Annual Conference;

MAILERS small size 5x7 & 6x9 #10/#11 9x12/10x13 "square"
3 5 12 4 4
2 7 2 1 3
Post Card
28 - 7 -
- 2 - - 2
- - 3 - -
Summary &
Totals; 89
9 42 17 12 9

With rare exception, I saw none of the efforts until I returned from the event. Reason being I was on a speaking tour that began 13 days before the conference. My office saved every piece of mail that arrived - this is what I came home to.

It is obvious post cards are in. And mid-size is in. A total of 39 post cards out of 86 mailers. Most of the cards were between the 5x7 and 6x9 sizes.

The next largest category behind cards were envelopes - with a wide range of sizes. Most the more standard #10 and 6x9 formats.

Self-mailers were the third most popular layout. They too tended to be mid-size, although they ranged all over the place in size and shape.

Only 3 companies sent a 1 page fax message, the balance were mail.

There were less than a handful of 3-D packages - the most interesting mailer being from Smith-Gardner. The copy on the outside back of the package read like this;

"We've got the Nuts & Bolts to power your Direct Commerce."

And there, in a plastic case the size of a large coin was one nut and one bolt. Rattling around.

What's always interesting to me is the extreme creative people go to get attention - and then they do it black and white. The entire inside of the Smith-Gardner self-mailer spread was B/W - and in small san-serif type, too. Not good.

Another 3-D package came in a box from EDS. Teaser copy begins on the outside label ...

"Would you use one of these . . ."

which certainly pulls you inside. The sentence finishes on another label posted on the inside flap of the box cover - it says

" . . . to identify your best customers?".

A large black 8 Ball is in the box.

A loose card in the box does NOT repeat the message - a mistake. It is the "order form" - designed to get you to their booth at the conference.

47 of the 86 mailers were 4-color, 29 were 2-color, 6 were black/white and the balance came in a 3-D box of some sort. It's obvious we live in a color world.

IBM sent me 2 pieces of mail, with 2 different messages. One to see their stand ... the other to attend a special breakfast presentation. Sorry I missed that opportunity - their well done jumbo envelope mailer looked interesting.

Canada Post sent 3 self-mailer pieces. Each different - yet a series. Each 4-color, although the color varied from one to the other. The design was the same for each - the theme the same.

The purpose was to introduce you to the direct marketing expertise available from Canada Post. Which I personally can testify is significant ... having enjoyed working with the DM group of CPC folks a number of times.

Each mailer featured 2 stamps from the Canada Post Millennium Collection ... gathered together in a limited edition hardcover book.

A nice job, expensive and well done. Hope it worked for them. Of course they got to mail "free" - they are the post office!

The hot dot.com company MyPoints also sent 2 mailers ... one in a clear or plastic envelope. One of their mailers was from a good friend of mine who works for them - his card was enclosed. Hopefully they did that nationwide - the right card for each contact.

The clear or plastic style was used by only 2 others. Interestingly, all 3 envelopes were small and "square" in size.

A number of firms "personalized" their mail. Some used script "hand-writing" so well done it is difficult to see the difference between the real thing and that done by computer machinery. That from Irresistible Ink is an example.

For others they used the mail to demonstrate their capabilities.

httprint had my name on every page of their mailer - which also came in a clear yellow plastic envelope.

PrimeNet Marketing Services sent a post-it note pad. An entire pad, each note personalized. The first couple of pages had their "letter". And then a coupon to complete and "win". Followed by 10 sheets, each with a different message - each with YOUR name on it.

Certainly an involvement mailer.

USADirect wrote a letter, included a response device coupon, a gift flyer - each personalized. Oh, and the outer envelope too. Which included some provocative teaser copy;

"WARNING Mr. Jutkins. You must have at least 20 fingers and toes to open this package."

This package DID get looked at.

Another clever personalization was from McCallum Envelope of Seattle, Washington. They sent a self-mailer designed to carry a CD-ROM ... and included a "paper" CD so you'd get the full affect. Their response coupon was business card size - and included my name and an ID number.

American Slide-Chart Corporation do what they always do - send an effective example of their product ... a Pop-Up. This a year 2000 calendar.

The largest post card came from DIMAC Direct Communications - a grand firm located just outside St. Louis, Missouri. Their card measured 8 1/2 x 11, and included a perforation.

They and Moore Response Marketing Services each choose the quiz approach to build interest. With questions on the outside - you have to look inside and maybe visit their booth to get the answers and win the prize.

The smallest piece of mail was from Experian - just 3 1/2 x 4. Inside was a "passport". You were to go by their booth to get the "token of admittance" to their big time party.

The largest die-cut showed a pair of lion eyes through the back of a 4-color self-mailer from Harte-Hanks. They were suggesting you could get "the lion's share of the market!" when you went to work with them.

There were a number with "live" first class stamps. Including that from Nahan Printing that included a .55 stamp when a .33 would do. The difference is not the issue - the waste is. Do they look out for their clients this same way?

A couple of firms provided Toronto food and entertainment details. For long time friends of AllMedia they are used to getting a very complete newsletter. This year entertainment Partnership Marketing sent a coupon book with "deals" on everything from a tour of the SkyDome to some of the better eats around the city. Both asked you to drop by for a biz visit, too.

The envelope division of Westvaco covered their tracks. If you came to the convention and visited them you got their message. If you just looked at their mail, you got their message.

It came in a jumbo paper envelope with a samples of 7 different products enclosed, and a cover letter. Inviting you to learn more by visiting their booth - and no matter, remember them next time you have an envelope need. Good mailer.

Well, enough. This years collection is better than last. More mail, more of it well done. Fewer "dumb" things, just to be clever or cute.

Wish I had seen it all before Toronto - I'd have enjoyed a few more parties and maybe learned a thing or more from one of the exhibitors.

Power Direct Marketing article INDEX

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