Receive package

If you’ve ever launched a direct mail campaign – and especially one that involves promotional products – you’ve probably asked that question at each date of the planned mailings.

Your next question, then, is, “Did it arrive?”

The first question is easy enough to get answered.  Just ask the person in your organization who’s managing the program, or, if it’s you, contact the fulfillment house or mailing service or the folks in your company who are charged with prepping and shipping the mailers.

It should be equally easy to answer your second query – that is, if you’ve seeded your list.  Seeding is the tactic of including you and at least two other top-level employees in the distribution list, and it should be standard operating procedure for any direct mail promotion.


Well, for starters, you and your team will know that your mailers have been delivered, because you’ve received yours.  If your program calls for a phone follow-up, the last thing you want is for a representative to contact a target with a “Did you get the package I sent you?” opening question, only to discover that the mailer hadn’t been received.  Oops.

More importantly, you’ll see a “live” mailer that’s what your targets have received.  This lets you review the package – from outside tease to inside pitch – and spot any errors or other problems that may have slipped through the cracks.  Those mistakes, if you find some, provide a viable reason to immediately contact your targets and attempt to clarify.

Thirdly, you’ll get a “live” look at how the package was handled by the post office, FedEx, or UPS.  Is the box or envelope in good condition?  Or was it beat up, crumpled, crushed, or otherwise damaged…and if so, how about the condition of the enclosed promo item?

Finally, how long did it take from drop to delivery?  Depending on the shipping service you used and the type of service you selected, you should expect your mailer to reach its destination in 3 to 5 business days.  If it took longer to be delivered, you’ll need to rethink your shipping method.

With multiple mailings in a dimensional marketing program, timing is crucial.  This is especially true if, as mentioned above, your plan includes a phone follow-up after each drop.  And here again, your sales reps need to be reasonably sure that your targets have received the respective mailer before they call.

The bottom line to all of this is that you should always seed your lists – even if you’re just sending out flat mail (i.e., just a letter and #10 envelope).

Unfortunately, too many advertisers view seeding as an added cost.  Yes, I’ve heard that far too often…and maybe you’ve been guilty of such thinking, eh?

But really, isn’t that “cost” worth it?

So O.K., let’s say that your out-of-pocket expense for each mailer is $10.  Let’s then say that you seed your list with three company contacts, and your program involves three mailings. $10 x 3 addressees x 3 mailings = a mere $90!

Given the benefits I’ve discussed, wouldn’t you rather invest that $90 instead of risk dropping the marketing management ball?

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