Would you rather have your customers tricked into opening your direct mail piece or would you rather have them “wowed”?

I’ll preface this by saying that I have no ill will towards companies that practice the direct mail tactic I’m about to talk about and these are the thoughts of me personally and are not those of CASE Marketing Group or AutoAcclaimMailer.com.

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The photo above is from a direct mail piece that I received at home yesterday. I knew right away that is was a direct mail marketing piece for an auto dealership. While I did contribute to their “Open” rate by opening the mail piece. I also didn’t use the letter opener (which was within arm’s reach) as you can see. My point is that, if I’m a business owner, I don’t want to rely on “trickery” to get you to open my direct mail piece.

Let’s face it, automotive dealerships have faced a stigma for a long time. The stigma of being less-than-honest. I understand that’s not the case with all dealerships. I’m merely pointing out the fact that it’s something that the good dealerships have to counteract.

I’ll ask this question to the auto dealership connections of mine here on LinkedIn –

KNOWING there’s at least a perception or stereotype that dealerships “con” or “Trick” their customers, would you want to start a potential new client or customer relationship off by sending out a piece of mail that 1 – doesn’t say who it’s from and 2 – has an unprofessional “coffee stain” on it?

I completely understand that there’s a philosophy out there in the direct mail industry that customers are much more likely to take action from a piece of direct mail once they open it along with a host of analytics that supports that philosophy. As a business owner I understand that getting the customers through the showroom doors is the ultimate goal…I just believe in conducting business a better way!

I’m completely biased, of course, as I work in the new field of plastic (30 mil thick, almost the same as a credit card) automotive direct mail. I’m also biased because plastic post card mailers are “up-front” about what they’re for.

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Plastic post card mailer like the Auto Acclaim Mailer above is a one piece 5 inch by 11 inch ultra-thick mailer. There’s no “trickery” to get the customer to open it…because it’s already “open” when they receive it. The card looks professional with the dealership’s logo, name, and address along with relevant art work and graphics. The piece above has Snap Out gift cards along with variable data printing (VDP) that offers a suggested trade-in value of the customer’s current vehicle along with the Make, Model, Year, as well as a picture of that customer’s current vehicle (including the color of the vehicle).

There’s no question about what this plastic mailer is for…it’s up front and honest from the start. The dealerships that are using plastic mailers like the Auto Acclaim Mailer above, convey a message to their customers. The message is, that their dealerships respect your time and you. It’s a message of:

“Here’s what we have to offer and here’s what we think we can offer you…”

I’ll ask the questions from above again. Would you rather your customers be “tricked” into opening your direct mail piece (and all of the possible negative implications)? OR would you rather that your customers know who’s sending them mail and know what your potential offer is to them up front?

One more time…this is my personal opinion and thought process…BUT I almost felt insulted by receiving the “coffee” stained piece of mail. Consumers are smarter than they were even 10 years ago. They’re more informed, do more research and are busier than ever! Don’t insult them by sending something that’s clearly meant to “trick” them into seeing your value proposition….show them your value proposition.