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10 steps to executing a lumpy mailer campaign

A what campaign?

I’ve heard it said that these days a cold call about a white paper download is akin to being pestered about PPI. Now, before the majority of us start tearing up our marketing plans, let’s remember that, when done correctly as part of a nurture strategy, this doesn’t have to be true. However, it might mean that we need to think of a different way to cut through the noise – and I have just the thing!

Stand aside to welcome the lumpy mailer

I have spoken to enough peers, friends and family to know that the term “lumpy mailer” is not part of our everyday vernacular. Put simply it’s a 3D mailer – a direct mailshot with something in it. The “something” can be serious or gimmicky, but needs to be connected with what you trying to say or sell.

Here is some guidance for anyone embarking on this journey:

Step 1: Decide on your objective

What do you want to achieve with this lumpy mailer? Look at why you are doing it, who you are sending it to and which gaps in your marketing strategy the lumpy mailer is helping to fill. Without clear objectives you won’t be able to measure success in any meaningful way. Decide what the call to action will be.

Step 2: Set your budget

How much money can you spend on this? Don’t forget costs such as fulfilment and postage. Play out the assembly in your mind of all the elements and assign costings to each of them. And don’t forget the time element – with so many moving parts, these projects can really suck up your bandwidth.

Step 3: Plan the numbers

Whichever way you do it, you MUST figure out how many you are going to send out. Research at this stage may be frenetic whilst you work out how much each element of your lumpy mailer is going to cost. Take a close look at your data to see how many relevant contacts might receive the piece, then call potential suppliers to get quotes.

Step 4: Cleanse your data

Hand in hand with step 3, cleansing your data is paramount to success. The mailing house won’t care if your account managers have inadvertently entered their account details incorrectly. I’ve seen many mistakes where data is copied from one spreadsheet to another and no one checks they have even lined up the headings properly. For the purposes of mailing, make sure job titles are consistent, even if that field is just used to make sure each contact goes into the correct batch.

Step 5: Stay realistic

Start to get your ideas together. This is the fun bit (well it is for me!). Be realistic, don’t choose something that you can’t get hundreds of, or that needs to be shipped halfway around the world. I suggest presenting your client or your boss with a few options ranging from safe to, dare I say, a bit whacky. Bear in mind, a lumpy mailer really is an attention grabber but it obviously has to be in keeping with your brand. It may not be a one off, so think about how you can trickle the elements to your audience.

I’ll skip the internal back and forth steps and assume you now have the go ahead……

Step 6: Set the timing plan

Starting with your launch date, line up all your suppliers. Depending on how complex your lumpy mailer is going to be, you could need anything from 4 weeks to 2 months’ project time.

Step 7: Start the creative process

Start writing copy for the mailer. Whatever you are sending will need accompanying content. Make sure your brief is clear and your messaging is well defined. Use an external writer to help with the process – they will be able to offer some extra insight and input that you may not have thought of.

Step 8: Artwork

Check your artwork for typos. When creating artwork from heavy content, you may be wise to copy and paste the whole lot into a word document and run the spell and grammar checker over it. However, use your eyes! How does the spacing look, is your main heading still where you want it to be? A favourite miss of mine is speech marks – if a sentence starts with them, make sure that it ends with them too!

Step 9: Review and approve

Take a moment to check that all your key stakeholders have seen the campaign in its near-finished form. Have you changed something that you think you should just run past the approver one more time? You can overdo this, or even worse expect that everyone is as thorough as you – DON’T! Recheck, check and check again. I often get someone who hasn’t been involved in the project to cast their eyes over it. Get written sign off.


Yippee! Only don’t forget to follow up, even if through email – otherwise there is no point!

And finally……

There’s no doubt that embarking on a lumpy mailer campaign requires a leap of faith to buck the trend that our digital colleagues have forged. But when executed with imagination, a strong message, good data and a well-planned follow up, I firmly belief it justifies its place in the marketing mix.

If you would like to find out more about how we can help you with all types of marketing campaigns, simply get in touch.

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