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Six Direct Marketing Mistakes to Learn From: True Stories from a Direct Marketing Company

Consumer Direct Marketing Mistakes

After years in the direct marketing world, we’ve seen it all. We’re sharing common direct marketing mistakes so you don’t have to learn the hard way about what works and what doesn’t.

The good, the bad and the ugly. After years in the direct mail advertising world, we’ve seen all the best direct mail marketing ideas. So we’d like to share with you common direct marketing mistakes and marketing campaign faux pas so you don’t have to learn the hard way about what works and what doesn’t.

Here are 6 common consumer direct marketing mistakes to learn from:

  1. Promoting an unproven product. – Got a new menu item, service or product? Before you promote it via consumer direct marketing, make sure it’s something your customers will really get excited about it. Just because it’s “new” doesn’t always mean it will get customers running through the door to redeem your mailing. Test out new products on customers to be sure it’s  a winner before you use that precious real estate on your direct mail/direct marketing.
  2. Not thinking about, “What’s In It For Me?” (WIFM) – This is the most important – and immediate – question any direct response marketing ad campaign has to answer for the customer. What is it that you’re giving your customers that fills a need? A full belly for a good price? A clean car with quick service so they can get on with their day? The best direct mail marketing campaigns take the WIFM factor into consideration and that message is the most prominent in your direct marketing campaigns.
  3. Forgetting Contact Information – You’d be surprised how often I’ve seen direct marketing designs without the business’ address or phone number. Not only does your offer have to stand out, they have to know where to go redeem it. Don’t overlook the obvious details in your mailing.
  4. Excluding URL’s and Social Media – In today’s world, a website is just as important as the physical address. But don’t stop there – include reminders in your direct mail piece for customers to find you on their favorite social media networks.  If you’re planning an internet marketing campaign, these details are an absolute necessity.
  5. Spelling Errors or Distracting Graphics – “Buy On Get One Free!” Simple as a spelling error is, it can get between your customer and the direct marketing offer. Ask others (many others) to proof your ads to help you avoid this common direct marketing pitfall.
  6. No Sense of Urgency – Have you ever received an incredible discount or offer on a direct mail piece with no expiration date? And you thought, “I’ll set it aside and use it later.”  But, you may have lost it or forgot all about it. To avoid this happening to your mailers, use phrases like “good for this month only” or “while supplies last” to make sure that customers feel the heat and act before it’s too late.

Lessons learned!  Keep these tips as handy for your direct marketing campaigns. What direct response marketing lessons have you learned? Share your suggestions on other mistakes to avoid.




Valpak, one of the leading direct marketing companies in North America, is owned and operated by Cox Target Media, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Cox Media Group. With nearly 170 franchises throughout the United States and Canada, The Blue Envelope® delivers savings and value to nearly 40 million households each month.
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