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For a limited time, Brand United is airing a webinar on Direct Mail for Financial Brands that was recorded in September 2021.
While it wasn’t intended, the webinar provides a clear contrast between the traditional direct mail and the arc of direct mail for the future. Bob Bly, a well-known direct mail copy expert and Ron Jacobs, CEO Jacobs & Clevenger, both make the case for what is working and what is not.
Webinar Title: How Financial Services Brands Utilize Powerful Optichannel Campaigns to Attract, Retain and Enhance Customer Experience and Communication
Duration: 45 minutes
Available Until: April 22, 2022
Like every decision over the last 24 months, how consumers choose Financial Brands has changed dramatically. Financial brands are adapting, too.
Over the last year, J&C CEO Ron Jacobs has spent a lot of time researching how direct mail has been modernizing for consumers in the 21st century. It’s shorter, more colorful, more customized, more segmented and more transparent than in the past. The tone is different. Everyone wants to feel privileged and valued. Direct mail, like other channels, is becoming more personalized and relevant for every reader.
The outer envelope doesn’t try to hide the promotional or informational content inside. Direct mail is influenced by copy and design in email and digital channels and adapting well to the new technologies, revenue and budget realities of now, 2022. Many direct mail tests and controls have seen successful results following these findings.
A webinar with copywriter Bob Bly provided an unexpected difference. Bob Bly’s point of view is more traditional. He recommends that marketers use #10, 6” x 9” and 9” X 12” packages, official-looking outer envelopes, full direct mail packages and more tease than transparency. Bob urges the traditional copy approaches that have worked for direct mail for over one hundred years. Bob illustrates with a lot of conventional direct mail examples, both elements and techniques that have worked well over the ages.
No one disagrees that an official, traditional approach still works. We see a change in what is working for Jacobs & Clevenger’s clients and many others. Ron Jacobs recommends testing approaches that are more contemporary, use shorter copy approaches like email and SMS, and take advantage of modern inkjet printing with full personalization, easy-to-scan copy and graphics, simple line art and four colors or more.
The very form of direct mail is adapting to these times. There is more non-envelope direct mail, like postcards and self-mailers. Direct mail packages have fewer pages or individual elements within them than they did a few years ago.
Physical response devices and reply envelopes are no longer mandatory elements in direct mail packages, as so much direct mail is pushed to landing pages, microsites or telephone agents. Of course, multiple calls-to-action are important for direct mail. Still, copy has become shorter, with lower word counts and scannable copy and designs that are easier to comprehend with just a quick read.
One of Jacobs & Clevenger’s clients has a “100 Word Rule” for direct mail letters. This includes the P.S. More than 100 words and the client won’t consider testing it. Under 100 words works best for them. More and more direct mail is short and to the point.
In the webinar, Ron Jacobs demonstrates how financial brands like Chime, Marcus and even American Express are using more helpful, welcoming and modern copy and design approaches in direct mail. Alliteration, short sentences, specific product details and benefits as selling points place the reader at the center of the direct mail package’s attention.
The webinar is worth a look, just to see the contrast between the two approaches. You can make your own decision on the direction to take your direct mail. Both Bob Bly’s and Ron's ideas are worth testing. Each point of view may provide something new for you in 2022. Click the link below to hear more.