DMH Marketing Partners & Mail America: Fails for poor DMA prospecting

The annual Direct Marketing Association (DMA) Conference & Exhibition is this week.   If you have ever attended a DMA conference you know that your registration information is shared with prospective vendors that have a booth.  And what does a good direct marketer do with a prospect mailing list?  Mail, of course!  (Maybe there is a joke here: What is the best way to keep the postal service from going bankrupt.  Have a DMA conference every month!)

Looking through the pre-conference mailbag, this looks like the year for QR codes and iPad2 giveaways.  Some of the mail has both – a QR code where you could win an iPad2 for visiting a booth or purchasing a service.  

This piece utilizes a contest concept to motivate people to visit their booth.  Everyone is a “winner” of something of value up to $25,000.  The disclosure that appears in white-on-blue mouseprint states that the odds of winning the grand prize are 1 in 10 million.  Given that there will be not nearly that many people attending the conference, it should be safe to assume that everyone visiting the booth will "win" free direct mail advertising.  This legally proper but misleading contest merits a Fail for Offer.
Creatively, it is not clear from the postcard who is the sender is -- “360° Marketing” or “Mail America”?  The left side of the postcard includes some explanation of services, but much of the copy is too small to read.

Is the company run by an ant,
or will there be an ant farm in the booth?

This postcard from DMH Marketing Partners is one of the most significant Fails for poor Creative design:
  • One side of the postcard is horizontal-intensive while the other side is vertical-intensive.
  • The postcard is the smallest size possible with primarily a white background, making it difficult to find in the clutter of the dozens of other pre-conference mailers.
  • There is not a clear explanation of what the company does or what services it provides.
  • The only Web address on the page is for the DMA conference.  The Web address for the company does not appear.  (Does this suggest DMH does not want to be found?)
  • The messaging does not appear to have any alignment with the company Website.
  • There is not a compelling reason to visit the booth – no gift, contest, person to meet, or topic to discuss other than the vague opportunity to increase responses.
  • As a woman in my office put it, “That bug is just creepy.” 

The marching bugs in the background did not scan well.
  1. Clearly communicate your offer and value proposition.
  2. Offer a compelling, honest reason for a prospective customer to reach out to you.
  3. Know your competition to develop creative that will be noticed.
  4. If you are going to include an animal, use a cute mammal rather than a creepy bug.

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