Today’s Mail & Marketing Blunders

by Sandra Fathi on April 16, 2007

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Today I received a letter in the mail from Peppercom. Peppercom is a public relations agency that I personally have a tremendous amount of respect for and admire. However, even professionals can make marketing and PR mistakes and today’s mail reminded me of some of the most common, but critical, mistakes that companies make when sending marketing materials to their target audiences.

The envelope that I received was personally addressed to me and inside there was a short note and two articles. The note started like this…

“April 2007

Enclosed are two articles of interest. The first is an opinion piece co-authored by Steve which predicts trends…..”

Your mailing list is gold

I am not sure if Peppercom intended to send this letter to me – the owner of a competitive agency. I am sure I was on their mailing list somehow, but probably they meant to send this to existing or prospective clients. Maybe even journalists. I may have been included in the list intentionally, although I am not sure why, but certainly, each mailer takes time and costs money. I don’t know if investing their time and money in me is worthwhile.

Make sure that if you are going to send out a marketing piece that you check, double check and triple check your mailing lists. Weed out old addresses. Make sure you know if you are sending to prospects, clients, competitors or industry influencers. Update information on a regular basis. If you are buying or renting a list, use strict criteria for the names you want and don’t want. As important as it is to include firms or individuals that you want, you can weed out the ones that you don’t want.

Make it personal

Personal interactions are much more impactful than anonymous ones. Someone took the time to put together this package of articles and send me an envelope but they didn’t take the extra 15 seconds to put my name on the letter. It also said that the articles were ‘of interest’ but not why they would be of interest to me.

Look at it from your target audience’s perspective

Although I happen to know Peppercom and the principals of the firm, I am not sure how many recipients of the package would know that ‘Steve’ (as he is casually referred to in the letter) or ‘Ed’ (as the letter is casually signed) are Steve Cody and Ed Moed, co-founders and managing partners of the firm. When you are writing copy, for a marketing piece, a PR pitch or a letter, you should always think about how the target audience will read, understand and absorb this information.

Say what you want

If you are going to invest effort, time and money into a direct mail campaign, there should be some sort of action item. Yes, maybe you just want to brand the company or raise awareness – but even then, you can refer them to a website for more information or encourage recipients to call you if they have any questions. However, most business owners that I know, they want to know what the ROI is going to be for a marketing initiative. It could be in sales, qualified leads, website visits, articles written etc. You get the gist. If you want your recipient to do something – you have to ask. Have an action item associated with your mailer.

I’ll keep checking my mail for more fodder. In the meantime, I did find Steve’s articles interesting. Thanks!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Steve Cody and Ed Moed 04.18.07 at 9:26 am

Hi Sandra,

When we have what we think is an idea worth sharing (i.e. a job swap in this case), we don’t see a competitor in the same way they may see us. We’d like to see things like a job swap happen in other workplaces in our industry. After all, a rising tide lifts all boats. We agree we should have clarified this in the upfront letter (and included our last names and titles) to avoid confusion about the purpose of the mailing, so thank you for bringing this to our attention.

-Steve Cody and Ed Moed

Sandra 04.20.07 at 6:17 pm

Hi Steve & Ed,

Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to our humble blog! As I said in my post, I have tremendous respect for you both and your firm. It’s great to see you participate in the dialogue. We are still in the beta stages but hope you’ll come back and continue to engage in conversation with our contributors.

Best,
Sandra

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