One of your best selling opportunities is "in the box".

One of the things I love to do when touring a B2B catalog company is take a look at the customer order, just before it gets sealed.   I usually make a point of doing it during the first tour of the operation.  What I find usually astounds me.   Most often, standards marketing materials – a catalog, a flier or two, maybe a thank you card or survey – are tossed helter skelter in the bottom of the box covered by the items being ordered and the void fill of choice.   Imagine what happens when the customer opens that box, presuming of course that there is an adequately marked “top” and “bottom” of the box and the customer can read and follow instructions.   What happens is that the customer opens the box, takes out the goods he ordered and tosses the rest.  He is so eager to see his new goods; he is not really interested in “the other paper stuff in there”.   (Don’t believe me?   Test a printed, inserted offer of $10 cash to the customer for just calling you directly.  Tell them it is a test to see who reads the stuff in the box.  Only do 300.  See what happens.)

At the very moment the customer opens the box just think of his mindset.   I can’t think of a better time, other than when he calls you to place an order, to make a new sale.

Rush out to your warehouse now and make sure of the following:

  • That your marketing materials are placed on top of the goods, in marketing pre-determined sequence.   I would suggest hottest flier offers on top (they have to sift through them) with your full line catalog underneath.  (Your insert catalog should be your most productive catalogs.)
  • That your materials are secured by void fill and will not shift during transit.  I have seen some smart customers wrap them in ribbon.  I would not suggest putting them in an envelope as it makes it too easy to toss.
  • That your packing slip is placed on top of your marketing materials.
  • If your packing slip is like many and has extra shipping labels for multi-box orders try using them for order dependent marketing messages.   You can test slapping them on the outside of the box or leave them on the packing slip.   Most packing slips are the domain of the warehouse or IT manager, not the marketers.   A pity.
  • In B2B I never suggest putting in outside offers.   The space and “presentation opportunity” is just too valuable to sell via some insert program and clutter or confuse your own messages.  B2C is a different game.
  • Try a small thank you gift tied to the offers.   One company I visited used a Tootsie Roll, another a small scented room deodorizer.
  • Code and track all your parcel insert orders so you know what your response.   Given no postage costs, the results are usually astounding. 
  • Assign a marketing person to the responsibility and to track and report on parcel insert driven sales and surveys.  Your results here should top any other customer mailing activity.

Your goal is to get those inserts read and acted upon… and train your customer to look for them (because they contain good information, free gifts or special deals) in the future.

Do you have superior parcel insert results?        If so, I might be able to help you make them even better.   Email me at

Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence LLC, a strategic B2B direct marketing consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that services B2B catalog company clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at tjukes @ or (954) 383-5221

Comments or questions are welcome.

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