I love food. Living downtown in Dayton, I am lucky to have a grand selection of fabulous restaurants to choose from however it seems that every weekend, I notice myself going to the same restaurants week after week. Why? Now this seems like an odd question to be asking while listening to Trish Witkowski from FoldFactory.com giving a presentation on “critical steps for creating mail that performs” during DscoopX last week but it was close to lunchtime…

Like most human beings, we are creatures of habit. We’re comfortable with the familiar and when hunger hits – we’re not very willing to take any chances. So as a marketer, how do you get someone to take a chance – to step outside of the “comfort zone” and try something new? You have to be relevant, timely and clear. These are three critical considerations to think about before developing your direct mail campaign.

Focus on the “40/40/20 Rule” developed by marketing expert Ed Mayer for direct marketing back in the sixties. Your success is heavily based on:

  • 40% audience – are you talking to the right audience?
  • 40% offering – is your offer relevant, timely and being offered in the right way?
  • 20% creative – is the design formatted to clearly state the message & offer?

The reason for the order and breakdown of this rule is simple. You could put all your effort into creating the most beautiful, creative and economical mailing, but none of that matters if the right people don’t see it.1

So, how do you create the perfect direct mail campaign for your audience? If this is the question you’re asking – you might be missing out. Try asking the question “How do you create perfect direct mail campaigns for your audience? This is similar to a question Howard Moskowitz, best known for the detailed study he made of the types of spaghetti sauce and horizontal segmentation, asked himself.

Malcom Gladwell explains in his 2004 TED talk here:

Malcom Gladwell talking about choice happiness and spaghetti sauce


Break down your campaign into segments and prepare a personal message catered towards each person. Make it personal and find multiple ways to connect with the person. Every person is unique and they might not all want to respond to your offer the same way. Give them a choice. Some might want to learn more online, other might want to setup a time to meet.

As Malcom states in his TED talk, “Psychologists, medical scientists, economists were all interested in finding out the rules that govern the way all of us behave. But that changed, right? What is the great revolution in science of the last 10, 15 years? It is the movement from the search for universals to the understanding of variability. Now in medical science, we don’t want to know how necessarily — just how cancer works, we want to know how your cancer is different from my cancer. Genetics has opened the door to the study of human variability. What Howard Moskowitz was doing was saying, this same revolution needs to happen in the world of tomato sauce…”

Now, what I’m saying is that this same mentality should be used in your direct mail campaigns. Instead of looking for a universal direct mail piece, look for variables that you can break down and make the direct mail piece more appealing to everyone.

So I encourage you to embrace the diversity of human beings in your marketing efforts and don’t be afraid to get personal. Dive deeper and learn more about how your clients think, feel, and live their lives and look for reasoning behind what drives them to make decisions. It’s all about emotional connections and when you connect personally with the right audience, they will be more likely to engage in your brand/offer.

Interested in looking for new ways to connect with your audience personally? Give Oregon Printing Communications a call at 937-222-9418 to see how we can help.

1. Sappi. Act Now!: A better response to direct mail. 2013. Print.