An Insecure Mailing

Fails: List, Offer, Creative, Timing  

This ADT new customer solicitation fails on several levels:

List: The recipient currently has ADT Home Security at his home for over 5 years.

Offer: The letter touts a Wireless Remote Control at a $99 value that is ABSOLUTELY FREE*. The asterisk on the back references a $99 installation charge. It also does not match the insert.

Creative: No personalization. The opening reads ATTENTION: HOMEOWNERS in both underline and bold blue, an overkill. It refers to homeowners in the plural but is mailed to the owner of only one home at a time.

The sub-head says “You have been selected to receive …” If there was a selection, the letter would have been personalized. The text is passive and in the past tense. A better creative would read, “You are selected to receive.” Or, better yet, ditch the format and use a letter approach that feels personal and believable.

The letter copy wastes space with phrases such as “… as an added benefit …”.  Just describe the benefit.

The use of numbers is inconsistent and there are typos. Sometimes the value or fee is $99.00, sometimes $99. There is generally little value in using cents on something of whole dollar value. There is no value doing it differently on one page.  An example of a typo is "post mark", which should be one word.  (Let's not forget that the envelope uses a postal permit so it doesn't even have a postmark.)

There is a call-out box about smoke dedectors next to the vital box with the call to action.  The monitored smoke dedector is an up-sell and should be left to the inbound telemarketing agent after the customer expresses an interest in the primary service being sold.  As a mention on the letter, the call-out box is a visual distraction from closing the sale and therefore a waste of space.

The insert looks like something out of ValPak, because it was in a recent ValPak mailer.

Timing: This is a low-interest category arriving the in the mail box between the Harry & David and Land’s End Holiday catalogs. At this time of year, people will toss the solo mail and open the catalogs.

It really is a shame when mail like this arrives in home. It means that an independent dealer is wasting precious money. When it comes to timing of direct mail for home security, the best time to reach out is when someone is moving into a new home. One of the most successful ADT salespeople in the local area checks for home closings at the county clerk office daily. He sends a simple postcard to the recently purchased house in that day’s mail. He knows that new home owners have cash flow issues, so he offers no payments for 60 days. This salesman admits the creative is lousy, yet he is successful because of optimal use of List, Offer, and Timing.

Learnings: Dedupe a prospect list against current customers.  Do not mail a non-personalized solo mail package. Communicate with personalization and in an active, persuasive tone. Be consistent with use of numbers. Do not sell multiple items on one letter. Do not mail an offer for a low-interest category during the holiday shopping season.

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