Calagaz Commercial Printing in Mobile, Ala., Tuesday, July 26, 2011.

Are Recipients Getting the Message?

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How often have you seen a slick direct mail piece—well written, with great graphics and a compelling call to action—but wondered, “What does this company want me to take action on?” Sometimes the simplest components of great marketing pieces are overlooked. One of these can be the actual goal of the piece.
Take a recent marketing effort from a well-known university. It was mailed to upscale professionals within a targeted geographic area. The headline read, “The Power of Discovery Starts Here.” The graphic was a rolling ball maze with the university’s logo in the center. Inside were more printed brain games. On the main page were printed the name and dates of the program in bold reverse type on a bright red background.
The piece was eye-catching, and the graphics and headlines made you want to take action. But on what, specifically? Based on the headlines, one might think it was to encourage recipients to further their education through a post-graduate or continuing education program. In reality, the piece was promoting a college prep program for middle-school aged children. The target audience was the parents of middle schoolers, but that wasn’t clear until well down into the body of the text.
This was a mistake that could have been easily fixed. Instead of “The Power of Discovery Starts Here,” the university might have said something like, “Give Your Middle Schooler an Edge!”

How to avoid this mistake in your own marketing?

  • Clearly define the goal of the piece upfront. What do you want people to do? Buy a product? Sign up for a program?
  • Clearly define your target audience. Ensure that the audience not only has the need for the product or service, but that they have the ability to take the desired action. (For example, that they have the authority to make the purchase.)
  • Get a second or third set of eyes on the piece. Does the reader understand the goal? Is the CTA clear? Is the value well presented?
    Some simple steps upfront can ensure that your mailing is its best. Need help? Contact one of our business development experts today!

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