“Old school” is cool again

May 30, 2021

Issue #131—May 28, 2021

In recent months, I’ve seen a surge of “online to offline to online” campaigns landing in my mailbox.

I’ve written about some of them, like in this past issue here (scroll down for the “What’s in Kim’s Mailbox” breakdown).

But within the past week, I’ve received two more direct mail promotions…both of them aimed at copywriters, marketers, and business owners.

I think it’s worth studying them since there is so much opportunity in today’s far-emptier mailboxes for companies who want to ramp up their results.

And as you’re about to see, two of the smartest and best-known marketers around are taking advantage of this opportunity.

It reminds me of my earliest direct response marketing days. It was when I worked for a guy who brought “integrated direct response marketing” to the staid Blue Cross Blue Shield division where I worked nearly three decades ago.

It was my first foray into marketing, and I got the chance to learn and do everything from copywriting to database marketing to product launches and more.

Our use of “integrated direct response marketing” for promoting direct-to-consumer insurance products (primarily for seniors on Medicare) included direct mail, newspaper ads, and television and radio ads.

The messaging for all of this advertising was seamlessly integrated and designed to produce a “super-additive” effect. Meaning, the idea that a prospect might receive a direct mail package, and then have the messaging reinforced by seeing an ad on TV or in the newspaper, and so forth.

All of it worked together to produce a much stronger combined effect than what you might expect from each individual campaign on its own. It’s a way of supercharging your marketing efforts (and dollars) versus betting it all on just on one or two channels.

These days there are so many more channels to take advantage of online, that many marketers only focus on that.

Well, as we’re seeing now, the smartest companies who aren’t afraid to take risks are venturing out into “old school” media like direct mail.

Yes, “old school” is cool again!

Let’s take a look at what I mean…

What’s in Kim’s Mailbox?

This 6×11 oversized postcard arrived in my mailbox around the same time I began getting emails from Todd Brown about a “new marketing format”.

Let’s take a look at the front of it…

The messaging overall is strong, the benefits very clear, and it entices you with curiosity about the “new marketing format”. It’s likely going to people who’ve already bought from Todd Brown, so it’s worth the investment of postage and printing, since they are people who are most likely to buy.

The only crit I have here is I would have used a heavier font if doing all reversed-out white text to make it easier to read. Okay, let’s look at the back of the postcard, since that’s where the offer is spelled out…

The copy teases more about the “new marketing format”, even incorporating the term into the call to action/URL. And notice, the ONLY way to respond to the call to action is to go from this “offline” promo to online.

I like how the copy ratchets up the curiosity on the back by naming all the thing this mysterious new format isn’t…overcoming the likely objection of “I’ve seen it before” or “I know this already”.

If you go to the URL, it now says the offer is expired. But I assume it was inviting you to the same workshop that the multiple emails I received from Todd Brown around the same time invited me to. Here’s a quick look at one of them…

(The rest of the email includes a call to action to secure your spot at the workshop, which I’m pretty sure was paid if I recall correctly).

Just like the direct mail postcard, the “new marketing format” is front and center, as it is in the multiple emails sent after this one promoting the workshop. But the combined “super-additive” effect works to produce a stronger overall impact of the campaign than just one or both could do separately on their own.

In a future email, I’ll take a look at the second “online to offline to online” I mentioned earlier. It’s a direct mail promotion I received from “old school” marketer Dan Kennedy. This direct mail package is using classic direct response copy and design techniques–and sending people online as part of the call to action.

If some of the smartest direct marketers around are integrating direct mail into their promotional campaigns, maybe it’s a tactic you or your clients should consider trying.

There’s gold in that there mailbox!