For the past few years I’ve been getting postcards on a regular basis from one local printing company – Braintree Printing. It’s left a impression on me.
This company is just south of Boston proper. They are a trade printer serving all of New England as well as New York and New Jersey (my home state!). Hoping to learn more about this direct mail campaign, I sent a list of questions to Jim Corliss, the owner.
Here’s what I found out.
Braintree Printing has been mailing postcards to the trade on a monthly basis or so, for the past two or three years. All of the postcards are personalized, which is one reason I love them. They use my name and my company name very effectively. The design (different each time) is big and bold, and the cards are often printed on different stock to make a point about that particular stock. I have one that’s a bumper sticker. Another is printed on 24 pt. board, and the message is all about Braintree’s ability to print on that substrate. The postcards are printed on their Xerox® iGen®4 or their iGen™150, using XMPie software for the personalization. They apply a UV coating offline.
The only hard cost for these cards is postage, about $.30 apiece. The company designs, prints and mails their postcards in-house. Jim says they mail about 2500 pieces each time.
Direct mail is not their only marketing channel. The postcards are coordinated with email blasts. I get the emails, too. I think this is a very smart one-two punch.
So, are these postcards and the accompanying emails effective? “People seem to enjoy getting our pieces,” Jim wrote. “We try to keep them simple and try not to be intrusive.” As a recipient, I can tell you they are not intrusive. The cards are fun and colorful. The emails are related and get to the point right away.
Jim says they get a 30% opening rate on the broadcast emails. The company does almost no other advertising, and they don’t have an outside sales force, so Jim feels that most of their sales can be attributed to the postcards and email blasts.
For now, the company will continue sending out their postcards – with accompanying emails – but Jim says they’re always on the lookout for different ways to communicate with their customers.
There’s something iconic about these postcards that show up in my mail, and there are a few reasons why I think they work as a marketing tool:
1. I get them regularly.
2. I check out each one to see what’s being promoted.
3. They’re not overdone. There’s just enough copy, and the design isn’t “precious.”
4. Each one tells me about a particular product or service the company offers.
5. Accompanying emails reinforce the postcards.
When all’s said and done, these postcards are welcome. They’re lighthearted. Each one’s different. They shine a light on Braintree Printing. And most important of all, they keep the company’s name in my mind.
VMA thanks Margie Dana for her insightful contribution.