Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Marketing to those who hate marketing: Bling

A professor showed me a clever piece the other day with a simple diagonal die-cut that was accordion-folded for five panels, creating an attractive and interesting zig-zag effect. He hated it.

"Too showy, not serious enough," he described. He saved it as an example of what not to do when targeting faculty.

Tip #2: Forget the bells and whistles. For every person who gives a "wow—that's cool" reaction to an interesting publication shape or feature, you're likely to get two or more who respond with "wow—what a waste of tuition dollars." Depending on the purpose of the piece and your audience, some things can stand out in the mail for all the wrong reasons. Lenticular printing, die cuts, giveaways and other tactics may help distinguish a direct mail piece, but in a time when IHE budgets are being tightened nationwide, budget-conscious recipients may discount your institution's fiscal responsibility.

Solid message development and creative design doesn't require printed bling to be effective. Even if you've got the budget for such tactics, spending those funds on other applications is likely to give you much more bang for the buck.

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