Marketing and Nailing Jell-O to a Tree


NailingJelloToATree.jpgEvery now and then you’ll hear someone describing a difficult process as being “like trying to nail Jell-O to a tree.” It doesn’t matter what color the Jell-O is, or what kind of nail you use, or how hard you hit the nail. It just doesn’t work.

What’s that got to do with marketing today? Many of us have grown quite accustomed to the speed and economy of using email in our marketing efforts. And when it’s done properly, it can be very effective. But there are times when conventional direct mail offers something that email just can’t match.

I had an experience recently that reminded me of that fact. I received an offer in the mail the other day (Yep, direct mail professionals get direct mail, too!). It was a valid offer that I wanted to take advantage of. The only thing is, that I didn’t want to take advantage of this offer for a few weeks (and it was an offer that was good for a longer period of time). So I did what most people in that situation would do: I used a magnet to hold it to my refrigerator door so I’d be able to find it when I needed it. I see it every day when I open the refrigerator. I’ll be using the service that it offers in the next few days.

But what if that offer had come via email? I get so many emails in a day that it’s really easy to lose track of a single message. I’ve tried flagging emails and creating separate folders for emails that I want to review. But it’s kind of like nailing Jell-O to a tree. It just doesn’t stick. There’s nothing there to catch my eye and remind me about it. Trying to find that one email in the midst of all my other messages is time consuming and frustrating.

If you have an offer that people need to think about or may want to sit on for a while, direct mail makes a lot of sense. If you design it properly it will stand out and be a constant reminder. Of course you still need to make sure you’re talking to the right audience and that you have a clear offer, but you’ll have a better chance of getting a response later.

Sometimes there’s simply no substitute for a physical reminder that you can see and feel. Email can be a great marketing resource, but it’s awfully hard to attach an email to your refrigerator door. It’s kind of like . . . well, you know!

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