The other day I wrote about the art of the gentle reminder, and how social media works best when we don’t try to shout above the noise, thereby creating more noise. And clearly, when we are surrounded by clutter and lots of competition, our initial response is to get louder.
My kids often ask me, “Why are you yelling at us?”
My response is usually along the lines of, “Because you didn’t answer or listen the first time!” But after awhile, even the kids will tune out my yelling.
Then yesterday I got a direct mail postcard in the mail.
OK, not just any postcard. This was a direct mail piece that was HUGE. Because apparently, size does matter. It was a postcard, mind you. Not folded, just a postcard in all its 12″ x 15″ glory. According to the website for the company that produces this behemoth, it is the largest flat mailer allowed by postal regulations. They also use terms like “monster”, “ginormous”, and “hugely oversized”.
This postcard is a locally grown direct mail concept. One side has 10 ads for local businesses (as well as a few for the marketing company, itself), and the other side is one really large ad.
Kinda feels like someone put a billboard through my mail slot. The thing is bigger than my head!
Now after having checked out their website, I do admit that they have a decent sense of humor, but it doesn’t translate to the mailing piece. All it has is…size. Nothing else differentiates it from other direct mail. It’s the same ol’ same ol’…but larger. And their positioning is that smaller direct mail pieces don’t get noticed, so you should buy an ad on this ENORMOUS card.
Except for the fact that the company that produces this IMMENSE card also produces smaller direct mail pieces. So are they admitting that some of their other products are no longer effective?
I should also point out that there is no targeting by any form of demographics or psychographics. They merely send them to every house in the area, addressed to “Local Postal Customer”.
This HUMONGOUS post card is like a radio or television advertiser determining that they have to shout louder and increase the volume in order to stand out from the clutter. Or a store erecting a larger sign, or adding more flashing lights to draw attention.
And now I’ve got this COLOSSAL postcard. And there’s nothing on it to interest me. None of the deals are anything I would ever use. In fact, for one of the restaurants listed, I can get a larger discount by downloading the coupon from their own web site. They paid to offer a lesser deal elsewhere?
Not to mention that the LARGER the postcard, the LARGER the space it takes up in the landfill. Not only does it create more trash, but I might have to wait for my city’s large item pick up day to get rid of it alongside the old dryer that’s sitting in my back yard.
BIGGER doesn’t always mean better. If you need to stand out, don’t get LOUDER. Just be more creative. Back in the day I was on the board and judging panel for the Radio Mercury Awards, which honored creativity in radio advertising. The ads that we chose for these awards were never just louder. They were just plain funny. Or poignant. Or heart tugging. They were creative.
Don’t give in to the temptation to try to out-shout, out-size, and out-glitz the competition.
What other examples have you seen of marketers and advertisers merely trying to be BIGGER and LOUDER? What’s your antidote to the noise?
- Apple: A Case Study in Why Brands Should Control Their Stories (waxingunlyrical.com)
- Creating an Ingegrated Marketing Plan using Social Media (inklingmedia.net)
- Tradition or Fear: Which Drives Your Marketing? (inklingmedia.net)
- Small Business Tip Tuesday: Your Business is the Sum of Its Parts (inklingmedia.net)