direct mail, Marketing, Media

Tempting The Fates: 21 Ways To Miss A Mail Date

Just taking the time to share a thought or two while rushing to the airport.   My apologies to all my faithful readers who wonder why they have to scan this post.   But I was a direct mail guy, and the tangled webs of direct mail production may well be a metaphor for life in general.

Calendar-date-circledFor mailers, timelines are tight, the post office has rules, and nobody sees your see emergency as their emergency.   The laws of physics trump all wishes to the contrary. This catechism of faux pas are all reminders of actual events.


How To Miss The Mail Date And Likely Disappear Into A Black Hole

1.   Start late.   The corollary: take up the wacky idea by your boss to be in the mail by Easter.

2.   Assume that three weeks is 21 days.   It is actually 15.

3.   Skip the research: the offer is so powerful only a knucklehead could goof it up.

4.   Pull in the Creative folks with a “team-building” challenge: just give them the offer and let them work out the rest.

5.   Demand copy, comps and layout before you settle on the budget.

6.   Demonstrate your economic intuition: estimate the numbers, response, cost, sales.  Don’t be scared by the unknowns; you are a visionary risk taker.   Guess!

7.    Lean on your list provider.   Maintain project secrecy.   Ask for competitor ideas.

8.    Once Creative gives you format design, get your Printer to price it.   Ask for competitor ideas.


9.    New Printer specs!  Get Creative to revamp copy.   Be firm with the deadline.  No dilly dallying, this is a mega opportunity.

10.   Flex your muscles. Go out to bid on print anyway.  Don’t tip your hand to the competition. Quantities should be secret.  Vague drop date.

11.    Don’t bug your lettershop with production schedule questions.

12.   A Power day for you!   Bless the newly found low-bid printer with their first order.   Advise impending drop date.  Quantities may go up.   Or down.


13.   Delay approving final art.   Experience has taught you that something could change later!

14.   You are a team player.  After rushing  final art approval, pass to Legal to keep them in the loop. (Noseyparkers!)

15.   Marketing brainstorm: boss adds a new version for a paper test.  No problem!

16.   Hold off approving printer’s proofs until Legal edits are changed on press.

17.    Advise the lettershop: a split run over two weeks.   Re-run list for goofy, inflexible postal demands.

18.    Ask your list house for more names.   Your boss wants to add his parents to the seed list.  No problem!

19.    Play hardball: hold off postage deposits with the USPS.

20.   Get proactive: advise your inbound phone center of the impending promotion.   Set up a separate meeting with the website folks.

21.    Share your wisdom with the new trainee: test the phone number.    When a “telephone dating service” answers, ask if you may borrow their number while your promotion runs.

I am sure that none of these instances have ever occurred in your career.  Lucky you!

I have to go now as there is an unaccountably stupid, long, glacially slow line-up in airport security today.

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