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Below we continue our critiques of actual direct mail pieces and how these mailings could be improved.

  1. Air Conditioning Contractor - Sides 1 and 2
  2. ECM runs a direct marketing campaing

    SIDE 1: "Replace your AC unit - Adhere to the green campaign - Reduce your electrics bill - Save a lot of money thanks to stimulus $$$$

    This 4" x 6" postcard has the talking points embedded but difficult to connect together in a single coherent message.

    ECM uses color copies to run their direct mailing campaign

    SIDE 2: This side of the piece is more convincing. The message explains which rebates are available. The direct mail piece does not provide long term benefits (savings in use) so it limits itself a little bit.


    Put the phone number in the bottom right. Redesign side 1: have a title with bullet points that combine the incentives with the long term benefits, then expand the concept in an organized way. Many people may not recognize and know what a "Trane XL20i" is.

    Score: 7 out of 10 points

  3. Printing Company Advertises
  4. BCT sends promotions on a piece that was not designed for direct mailing.

    This direct mail card promotes the use of a certain type of paper for specific printed pieces. Due to design and addressing deficiencies in the piece, USPS must apply a label that permits them route the card. That sticker covers the main message of the postcard.

    This is a 4" x 6" postcard that pays the same postage as larger piece.

    Score: 4 out of 10 points


    Know the mailing requirements before designing.

    At Color Copies USA, we process direct mailing campaigns daily, achieving the highest postal rate discounts available. We clean the list, CASS certify and check address against the moving-people list. They could personalize (data-merge) the card as well.

    USPS offers free 2 hour sessions where they will teach the basic postal requirements. That class is highly suggested if you have not dealt with direct mailing before.

  5. Wii Sports Resort
  6. Wii is promoting their new game: Wii Sports Resort

    Nintendo's Wii is introducing a new game and the piece is great! This piece gets a high score because even though it's a small, the information is well organized and flows from the top left corner down to the bottom right side

    Score: 10 out of 10 points


    I'd like to try these new games!

  7. Just Listed: listing a property for sale - Sides 1 and 2
  8. A poor "Just listed" card

    Side 1 of this piece scores low: an expensive piece, large, (8 1/2" x 11" letter size) with poor graphics and no information at all about the property itself. There's no reason to call as no phone number is listed to call!.

    Poor Just listed 81/2x11" postcard

    This "Just Listed" postcard could have been an interesting piece. There is a large writing area that lends itself to presenting nice images and well organized information. Digital copies lend themselves to much richer pieces.

    Score: 4 out of 10 points


    Redesign. Include facts and contact information. Add a sense of urgency. The front side does not really add to the marketing message. There's no track record, no Realtor logo or credentials are presented in the piece.

  9. North Broward School is looking for motivated students
  10. North Broward School is looking for talented and motivated students for their 2009-2010 program

    North Broward School has a good reputation in this area and they are letting parents know why they should enroll their kids there. I like this piece. It suggests group success as opposed to success from individual skills. The information flows naturally from top-left to bottom-right. In terms of the piece itself, the school is taking advantage of the largest letter size possible at the letter-rate, therefore maximizing the display area. A clear message and full contact information are easily accessible from the message.

    Score: 10 out of 10 points


    Since it's a highly targeted piece (only to students), some personalization could be used: if the recipient is a male, his copy could contain images that relate to typically male activities to ensure interest in the reader.

Go back to the first page of critiques on direct mail pieces.

* Disclaimer: The images that are shown in this page are real direct mail pieces that we have received in our mail boxes. In no way we are praising products, or judging the quality or convenience of any product. We just want to provide an independent observation from the design point of view and its marketing effectiveness. All the comments expressed here represent the vision of this article writer and in no way represents the policies or points of view of