I had an unexpected surprise in my mailbox a couple of days ago. Included in my personal mail was an envelope addressed to me from Amazon. I have to admit that this got my immediate attention, putting aside the other mail pieces, curious to see why Amazon was mailing me.
I found myself wondering why this elicited such a strong response. Curiously enough, I think it’s because of the relationship I have built with Amazon that gives their brand a seat at my table. I mean, who hasn’t purchased something on Amazon.com – the quintessential online retailer of “everything”. And, for anyone who’s an Amazon Prime member (that be me), I’m continually impressed by how easy they’ve made buying stuff; to the point where I don’t think much about it; quick search, 1-click checkout, arrival at my door 2 days later.
So notwithstanding Amazon’s association as the quintessential online transaction experience, I’m now holding a piece of mail from the largest digital presence in the universe. And, I suppose, therein lies the power of this particular piece of mail.
- It’s unexpected
- It stands out
- It’s physically in my hands – I’m touching it, inspecting it, and ultimately opening it; something digital cannot do
I open the envelope and pull out the piece inside that’s a folded enclosure with a little heft to it. On the outside cover of the enclosure is a phrase “Expect more smiles…” I’m intrigued. What could be inside that will bring a smile to my face?
I open the envelope and on the inside of the flap is the phrase “…in unexpected places.“
So, not only am I looking forward to something that will make me smile, but it contains something I’m not expecting; in other words… I’m about to experience a nice surprise!
I quickly see that this mailing is about my Amazon Rewards Visa card. THUD!! All this buildup for a credit card solicitation? Yes and no. Yes, it’s about my credit card, but no, it’s not a solicitation but rather an announcement of expanded benefits. Whew… all good!
The next thing I see is the cover letter which quickly grabs my attention and keeps this mailing from crashing and burning by succinctly and clearly announcing to me the special benefits and rewards upgrades to my Amazon Rewards Visa Signature card. AND, because I’m an Amazon Prime member, these additional benefits are automatic… no action required!! (these words evoke a similar pleasure to the word FREE!)
Shuffling through the balance of the enclosures, I find a colorful travel benefits brochure, a handy FAQ sheet, and lastly, a sheet of legalese about the Amazon Rewards Program (this IS a financial services notice after all).
What are some of the key takeaways here that you and I, as a business owner/manager and marketer, might apply in our own efforts?
1. Relationship is everything. Over the past few years, I’ve established a consumer, business, and lifestyle relationship with Amazon. (along with AMEX, Audible, South Burlington Audi, Skirack, Pandora, Target Marketing and Road & Track Magazines, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Nespresso, Motley Fool, and the local nonprofits I support – to name a few) I’ve become part of these brands’ target market so that when they knock on my door, I open it. Huge.
2. Identify, connect with, and nurture your target audience. Again… relationship. Your target audience and client base is your most valuable asset .
3. Approach your target audience how they prefer to be reached. In this example, it’s direct mail. What I’m real curious about for this campaign is what other channels, if any, Amazon used to connect with the various age ranges of their target audience.
- Was this entirely a direct mail campaign or were other channels employed?
- Did I receive this by mail because of my age? (let’s just say I watched the Beatles United States debut on the Ed Sullivan show in real time)
- Did their millennial members receive the same mail piece or contacted digitally?
I don’t know, but I do know direct mail works for me and others similar to me in their target audience.
As for younger folks, ongoing studies and data reveal that Millennial’s are surprisingly responsive to direct mail as well. InfoTrends research found that:
- 63% of Millennial’s who responded to a direct mail piece within a three month period actually made a purchase
- 25% of 25-34 year olds say they opened direct mail because of the print and image quality
- 25% of Millennial’s consider reading direct mail a leisure activity
4. Looks count. The look and feel of the mail piece can make or break a direct marketing campaign. Relevance, interest, and clarity of design are essential to make the instant connection that’s needed for success.
5. Content is the Holy Grail. You’ve only got a brief moment to engage the recipient or not. The focus of the content must to:
- Tell the recipient what you do or why you’re contacting them – be specific and clear
- Sell benefits not features and why the benefits are important to them
- Provide an action device or call-to-action