Using Direct Mail and Tactile Marketing to Build Personal Connections

August 25, 2020  by Harlow Russell

Occasionally when I’m speaking with someone I just met at a networking event or business function and I start to tell them about Awesome 3D Cards, they cut me off to ask, “So, you’re in the greeting card business?” And they’re often surprised to hear that actually, no—I’m not in the greeting card business at all! Rather, I supply my clients with a versatile business-to-business (B2B) marketing tool that takes the form of 3D “pop-up” cards. This fun tool allows them to more effectively build and leverage personal connections, which in turn leads to meaningful long-term B2B relationships.

Man opening tactile marketing at his desk.

You see, the power of a 3D pop-up card comes from its ability to surprise and delight the recipients as a seemingly flat piece of mail comes to life in their hands, folding out into a highly-articulated, dynamic 3D model. Opening an Awesome 3D Card transforms the card into an experience that creates an emotional response. “Oh, wow!” is one of the most common reactions. Ultimately, the emotional response aspect of this micro-experience serves as a connection that will make the recipient more receptive to a follow-up call or face-to-face meeting.

So to bring it full circle: facilitating meaningful connections--that’s my business; that’s what Awesome 3D Cards do. When you send a custom 3D card, you’re sending a conversation starter, and at a time when increased screen use and digital fatigue have savvy marketers are already returning to direct mail marketing.

In this article, we’re going to explore ways that you can use Awesome 3D Cards as part of an effective multi-channel B2B marketing approach that includes direct mail and tactile marketing.

Screen fatigue, digital burnout, and the appeal of direct mail

For just a minute, think back to the early 2000s. You’ll undoubtedly recall the wave of junk mail that crashed out of the mailbox each week. New and old advertisers alike clamored for your attention and dollars, and legitimate mail was easily lost in the surf.

Over the years, the internet became an increasingly crucial component of nearly every facet of daily life, and marketing of course shifted online to follow suit. Now it’s the digital inbox that fills up each week with as much, if not more, junk mail than legitimate business! 

I bring up this mini-history lesson only to demonstrate the perennial challenge of delivering your message through a wall of competing messages, especially while the vast majority of marketers will always follow the herd to new media. Because of this, good marketers constantly adjust to find the best available channel for their message. Great marketers get there early.

Woman experiencing screen fatigue.

Marketing saturation isn’t a new problem, but it has been compounded by the 2020 global pandemic as businesses rely on digital outreach more heavily than ever before. This fact, combined with more people than ever working from home, means that screen fatigue is at an all-time high. Many marketers are already reporting notably lower email open and response rates than usual, leaving us to speculate as to how many hours of valuable marketing have gone to waste as unread messaging piles up only to be bulk-deleted once it goes stale.

To sum it up, people simply don’t have the bandwidth or desire to sort through the new torrent of digital outreach, and so direct mail is becoming a more reliable way to capture a customer’s attention. As a result, marketers are beginning to concentrate more energy and effort into a less-crowded channel. 

As the saying goes, “what’s old is new again.” Direct mail, especially mail pieces that stand out, can achieve a near-100% open rate. But getting envelope opened is only half the battle of gaining mind-share.

Capitalize on the strengths of direct mail and tactile marketing

To better understand the value of 3D pop-up cards and direct mail tactile marketing, think about the important and often subtle questions you ask yourself when you consider a big purchase:

  • How does the product feel in my hand?
  • Is it sturdy, or clunky?
  • Do I like the weight of it?
  • Does this product feel valuable to me?
  • Without holding or touching an object, these are all incredibly difficult questions to answer! And the truth is that we ask ourselves these kinds of questions whether we’re dealing with a product, service, brand, or new business relationship. This is especially true when it comes to the B2B market.

    However, sending a custom Awesome 3D Card will let you tap into the power of tactile marketing by delivering something tangible to the customer, even if it’s just a representation or idea. Of course, tactile marketing isn’t a perfect substitute for first-hand product experience, but it does offer a leg up on customer engagement and allows you to build emotional connections that digital marketing simply can’t.

    And of course, once you have your customer’s attention you have the opportunity to do meaningful follow-up work to engage them directly.

    Sending a custom Awesome 3D Card will let you tap into the power of tactile marketing by delivering something tangible to the customer, even if it’s just a representation or idea.

    3 Ways to Use Awesome 3D Cards in Your Marketing

    While specific professional applications of 3D pop-up cards are many, they all benefit from and rely on the principles of tactile marketing that we previously explored. That being said, below you’ll find just a few examples of common strategies our clients use with Awesome 3D Cards:

    1. Individual Appreciation –The individual appreciation strategy is situation-specific and, as its name implies, cards are sent on an individual basis.  This strategy involves sending cards to mark personal special occasions or events, such as employee career milestones or thanking a VIP client for the purchase of a big-ticket item. Showing appreciation to a new customer with a 3D pop-up card is also a great way to solidify a new relationship.
    2. Sales & Marketing Campaigns – The “campaign” strategy is best-suited for ongoing marketing efforts that aim to generate new client contacts and eventual face-to-face or virtual meetings. These “drip” campaigns are most effective when they’re nice and steady, meaning that it’s important to develop a strategy for sending out cards in manageable batches. That way, you can schedule a follow-up in the appropriate timeframe to capitalize on the emotional impact of your Awesome 3D Cards.
    3.  Event Invitations and Announcements – This “blast” approach is used when you want all of your Awesome 3D Cards to reach the recipients at the same time and involves sending out large batches at once. The unique surprise that comes from opening a pop-up card is a great way to build anticipation and excitement for a new product launch or company initiative or to invite VIP guests to an upcoming digital conference or a high-end fundraiser. Or you can use the blast strategy to show employee appreciation to celebrate your company culture despite social distancing.

    These are just a few examples of how you can integrate Awesome 3D Cards and tactile marketing into your pandemic business response. The truth is that we don’t have the time or space to detail every Awesome 3D Card use case because there are simply too many!


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