This week’s Idea: Direct Mail is Dead. Long Live Direct Mail!

with Neil Godin

In my (snail) mail box – an (other) package from Dave Dubeau.  I mean “another” package because I get many packages from Dave. And I mean an “other” package because this is like no “other” package that I’ve ever seen. Lemme explain. No. First lemme show you:

Dave Dubeau - direct mail in clear plastic

A direct mail piece from Dave Dubeau, enclosed in clear plastic, personally addressed. The Front.

A direct mail piece from Dave Dubeau, enclosed in clear plastic, personally addressed. The back side.

A direct mail piece from Dave Dubeau, enclosed in clear plastic, personally addressed. The back side.

Dave, who runs two very profitable membership programs for business people – Canadian Business Profits, and Canadian Real Estate Profits – is billed as “Canada’s #1 Rent-To-Own Real Estate Coach.” He came into our town (Metro Vancouver) last week to deliver a couple of rent-to-own seminars and he used old-fashioned direct mail marketing to advertise the events – with a twist worthy of sharing with you.

His letter-size flyer (photo on left) and his handwritten note (right) came in a clear plastic wrapper, making them impossible not to see – and because the presentation is so unusual – very hard “not” to read. In fact, it was virtually impossible not to get his whole message just by handling the package. In this case, the usual problem of getting people to open an envelope is eliminated. Brilliant.

Is Dave marketing dangerously? 

Good question. The handwritten (hand scrawled?) message on the back side of the mailer is pretty far out there, I thought – but it is unquestionably attention-getting. And. Getting attention is (after all) the purpose of the piece. Hmm.  I’ll let you be the judge.

Your call to action:

Okay. Two key points about this week’s item. Point One. Never throw out your old ties (guys), or your old kerchiefs (gals). Because everything old is new again – sooner or later (witness the resurgence of vinyl records and now, suddenly, even cassette tapes.) And rumors of the death of direct mail have been greatly exaggerated. Point Two. You may have heard that email is now passé (“so last century.”) But don’t believe it.

Dave had a very strong turn out at both of his events – and it was a combination of his direct mail piece – and his double email campaign – that did the trick.

Okay, but what about the “new” media, Dave?  “Well,” he said, “we’ll keep trying, but so far social media isn’t doing much for us.” Hmm again. You and I (and Dave) know that if used effectively, social media can drive business. But. If your media has to work – now – it’s not a bad idea to get creative with our old stand-bys.

Thanks for a great example, Dave.

See you next week.


Ps – If you’re thinking “direct mail” (and most of us should be, one way or another), and you’re looking for a terrific resource, visit (don’t let their focus on post cards throw you, they’re true experts on everything to do with direct marketing). BTW I have no commercial connection with them, I pass on the link just because I think they’re good for you to know about.

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