Are You Testing New Mail Formats?

I am always surprised at the lack of testing that B2B catalog mailers are doing.   All too often we fall into our ruts and let our testing programs go stale…..or we just get too comfortable with the results of our control mailing package.   Advances in database and printing technologies are constantly giving us new formats to test.  These new formats help up increase personalization or give us a functional feature (like delivering a key fob for example!) that make the mailing more effective.   Most of all they are new to the recipient and, ideally, make them say:  “Hey, this is new, never seen this before, what it?.   Ideally, it draws the reader into the mail piece often with interaction components and drives up response.


Here are three mailings that I saw recently that I like and while they all may not be appropriate for your particular offer or target audience you might get some ideas from them.


1.   The first one is a mailing from my local hospital.   It’s a postcard that deliver a frig magnet advertising the services of their 24 hour emergency room.  The magnet is enclosed in a cellophane pouch with clear instructions to open.  (Never make the recipient think or work to open your mail package!)  It is personally addressed to me but not personalized in any other way.   I would surmise from this mailing that the marketers at this hospital feel it is important for me to have their contact on my refrigerator when the need for emergency medical care arrives.   Top of mind awareness when the need arises is the goal of many B2B mailers so it seems like a good idea.    One negative I noticed is that the card did tear in the mail and it made me think that a heavy postcard stock than normal might be needed to better support the weight of the attached magnet.


2.   The second B2B mailing of interest was a pitch from a company called “Enthusem” which develops printed mailing campaigns using both your online content and their online response mechanism.   As you can see the mailer was in a transparent envelope and use a printed color version of my business home page on the outside back cover of the card that was visible through the mailing envelope.   Very cool and sure got my attention!   More importantly I was curious to open the envelope and read the offer!

Inside I found and invitation to visit a personalized link (PURL) for “the idea that could be an incredible way for your company to drive more sales”.   Visiting the link I get a personalized video explaining their marketing program and a request for a scheduled demo time.  Very slick!


3.  The third mailing piece I do not have a photo of but it can be seen at this link:   There are a number of vendors who print and mail these plasticized oversized postcards.   Their strength is two fold.   One is their “heft” or feel that comes with a plastic-like card.   It’s different.   Second, is the punch out, wallet sized discount card and/or key fob that the mailing delivers.   Both have higher perceived value than the regular printed-paper postcard with a discount.  They also, by their very format, invite you to punch out the card and put it in your wallet “just in case” you may visit their retail location or online store.   I have heard that several large B2B marketers with retail stores and/or loyalty programs have used this format successfully.


These are just three examples of good creative thinking when it comes to testing new mailing formats.   They may not be worthy of a test for your particular B2B product or service or audience.   Regardless, you should be developing and testing similar formats that you believe are right for your target customer and constantly trying to beat your control package.    Too many times I hear B2B catalog mailers complain that their response rates are falling only to find out they have little or no creative or offer testing going on.   It should not be a surprise that the response to the same mail package will deteriorate over a 2-3 year period.   So, take these three ideas and  start looking at your mailbox for more new ideas and put some new life into your testing programs.  Call me if you need some help!


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 or (954) 383-5221

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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