How One Distributor Uses Printed and Promotional Products for Winning Direct Mail Promos
Did you know that promotional products have been around in the U.S. since the days of George Washington? This isn’t a history lesson, but Linda Neumann, owner of Brilliant Marketing Ideas in San Diego, likes to include tidbits like that in her self-promos. With a personalized letter that’s both informative and entertaining, she’s found a way to meld print and promotional products for direct mail beyond just a flier or a seemingly random assortment of items.
Can you tell us about a campaign you’ve worked on that blended both print and promotional products?
Linda Neumann: Quarterly I do a self-promotion that includes print and promotional products. The last one was for a mason jar that included Tootsie Rolls from AP Specialties, and I developed a direct marketing letter that started by comparing which of those two items were developed first—the mason jar or the Tootsie Roll. I tied it into the promotion.
Letters are critical to sending out self-promos. When asking which one was older, I talked about how promotional products actually are dated back to 1789 when George Washington handed out commemorative buttons. Then, I provided an offer [and] some statistics about the percentage of people that do business with a company after receiving promotional products.
I typically get a 5% to 10% response with the direct mail that I use as self-promotions. I am also working with a customer that decided to send out testimonial pieces, and for that customer we are tying in promotional products with each letter. They will be sending out one each month to their list. The letter talks about the services they offer and the incentive for acting soon, and the promotional product keeps the message top of mind.
How did you choose the products for this application?
LN: The products were chosen to tie into the messaging. So, the first letter would talk about the client being there when you did not know who to call for help. Then, we did a jar opener that has the line on it “turn to us when you need assistance.”
How did the combination of print and promotional products specifically solve the customer’s needs?
LN: The products chosen each month had the focus of something that could be used in the home that would remind them of the services my client provided. The testimonials are actually more like case histories of the services and why they were beneficial to the client.
Did you run into any roadblocks working on this campaign? If so, how did you overcome them?
LN: The roadblocks were the costs for the production side of the campaign. Each month, over 1,000 packages needed to be mailed out, and the client did not want to pay a mail house to pack and ship their orders. They decided to have someone in-house put the package together and bring them to the post office to mail. I introduced them to Pirate Ship, a discounted postage system, to save some money on the mailing.
However, in showing them the comparison with the mail house for the postage saved, the address verification used, the California sales tax exemption 1541.5 (related to not paying sales tax on the product by using a mail house), and the saving of their in-house labor and the headaches involved, they moved the production to the mail house and all product is shipped directly there for distribution.
What advice would you give distributors looking to do a similar project?
LN: My advice to other distributors would be to learn about direct marketing as a way to sell print and promo together, and increase your business and your value to the customer. They can’t get something like this easily online. The creativity is something they appreciate and will hang onto.