I received a FedEx package in the mail the other day. It contained a 5 x 7 x 1 inch box printed with the advice to “always carry a few surprises in your back pocket” on the lid. The paragraph that followed claimed that you could tell a lot about people by what they carry inside their wallets. The box offered me an opportunity to look inside the billfold of a local marketing agency — Integrated Marketing Partners – who specialize in B2B marketing with a core strength in fusing creative vision with razor-sharp strategy. Oh really? Who could resist? Here’s what I found when I opened it up:
Quite clever in execution, the wallet contains a variety of items — like a taxi cab receipt, a “creative” license, ATM bank slip, movie ticket stub, and a book of matches — all subtley extolling the virtues of Integrated Marketing Partners as a creative agency for the marketer interested in growing customer engagement and returning a good value on their marketing investment.
I give IMP a ton of positive points for attention-grabbing creativity. However, as I told Brock Greene, Managing Director at their San Francisco office, a few days later when he called to follow up that I thought the choice of a male wallet was not very personal. I have to admit that — when I first opened the envelop — I didn’t read the copy on the front of the box carefully enough to realize that they were offering me a look into THEIR wallet. Instead I thought it was a gift outfitted with creative examples of how IMP thinks and works. The sender clearly addressed this rather expensive piece of dimensional mail to a woman — having personalized the cover letter and gotten my name correct. But I thought the choice of a particularly personal male item a little odd because it is — well, intimate — and something I would never use. Even more, marketing is a profession where women can equal — or exceed — men in numbers, so having a female version would make sense, wouldn’t it?
Also, I didn’t find the campaign well integrated since I had never heard of IMP prior to this first contact. IMP might have reached out to me via some other channel or tactic first — to introduce themselves and nurture a relationship — prior to sending this costly, interesting, but ultimately useless package. They may have sent me an email talking about creative marketing and asking where working with a new agency might fall on my list of priorities. Like so many other clever marketing campaigns, this one focused a bit more on the sender than on the prospect/target. Here are the lessons I would take away from this experience:
1) Dimensional mail gets you noticed, no question. But if you are going to go to the trouble and expense of producing an item like this, you need to make sure you really understand your target — and warm them up a bit — before you send out such an item.
2) Personalization is essential in this approach. Maybe I’m just a little too self-centered, but I thought the item was intended for my use. Substituting a woman’s wallet or billfold would have had, in my opinion, a much stronger impact because I would have related to it more. If IMP had found out something about me prior to sending the item — they may have hit a home run by making it more personal.
3) Multiple touches increase interaction. The wallet arrived out of no where. Instead, try to start up a conversation first rather than going for the “big close” with the physical/expensive package. I may have been more inclined to find out more about IMP if I didn’t feel like they were trying too hard to get my attention.
Does this rule IMP off my list? Absolutely not. Again, high points for creativity. But in today’s socially connected world, personal connection — and showing an interest in me — matters more.