Lumpy Mail

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Lumpy mail is a brilliant way to improve the odds of getting your mailshots into the hands of your prospects, and better yet, actually ‘opened’ by them. We all have to deal with unsolicited mail, both at home, and at our places of work, and I’m constantly amazed at the shear numbers of folk that I chat to who simply dump it all straight into the bin. They don’t even open it!!! Perfectly understandable when you consider the busy lives we all lead, and who needs yet another piece of sales garbage???

Lumpy mail is a direct mail piece or package with some dimension to it. A box is lumpy mail. A balloon arrangement, a kitten, a hoola hoop. The point is you just can't ignore a piece of lumpy mail. It's getting harder and harder to get your message through all of the advertising clutter so sometimes you need to up the ante and make a real statement. A lumpy mail package screams notice me, open me. How about using lumpy mail! Everyone lives getting prezzies in the mail. Unlike an envelope or flier, if you send something with some weight (like a parcel or a box) it’s bound to get opened.

This is where ‘Lumpy Mail’ comes into its own. Lumpy mail is exactly what it says on the tin….. mail with something ‘lumpy’ inside!!! Now that can be pretty much anything you like, but most commonly, in my business, ‘Promotional Gifts’, it’s going to be a pen, or a keyring, or a pack of post it notes, or it might even be a fridge magnet. By making the mail ‘lumpy’, you entice the recipient to not just throw it in the bin, but to OPEN IT UP…. and voila!!! You’ve reached your target…. now you have the opportunity to tell them your sales pitch.

But, are you stumbling at the first hurdle? Are you underestimating the size of your lumpy package? If you get this wrong, and underpay for the postage, then you’ll be getting the exact opposite effect with your potential customer…. instead of a smile on their faces as they open up the mail, you’ll be getting them to grimace as they pay the postman the ‘fine’ for not paying enough postage!!!

Lumpy Mail Marketing

Check your lumpy mail meets the strict guidelines laid down by the Royal Mail for their letters and small packages. Get it wrong, and you’re off to a disastrous start!!

Now then… what makes the perfect promotional gift, to go into your lumpy mail, and NOT incur excess charges from the Post Office?

That’s where my company, RT Promotions can help. We understand the complexities of this market, and know exactly which products will and wont work best for you. Call us now to discuss your lumpy mail requirements.

Have you considered entering the multi-dimensional world of lumpy mail; aka 3-dimentional mail. Direct mail is two-dimensional and boring. In fact, forty-eight percent of unsolicited direct mail is chucked directly into the trash without getting opened.

Clever copy, combined with a promotional product, is the adult brains version of a box of Cracker Jacks

Lumpy Mail Meaning

Stuffing a promotional product into an envelope, gift box or other curious carrier piques our interest. Curiosity often gets the best of us; impulse control goes out the window as we are driven to immediately open the prized package. When the lumpy letter’s copy, attention grabbing headline and promotional product all work together, the simplest item becomes a valued treasure.

3d mailers

Comedic, clever, controversial or cool copy, combined with a prize, is the adult brains version of a box of Cracker Jacks. Lumpy mail increases an items promotional value as the proud recipient shares the cool commodity with co-workers. The more people that experience the jubilant gem contained within your 3-D transmission, the more opportunities there will be for them to interact with your brand and brainstorm on how they engage with your product or service. ‘Lumpy mail gets your foot in the door; make sure you have a targeted position in mind.’

Creative Direct Mail With Depth

Not to get too fancy-pants, but here is a quote from the late Maya Angelou that sums up your creative task: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” The texture and imagery of a promotional product combined with extremely creative copy, that hits an emotional cord, is absolutely necessary for your mailing to get the results you established. Make them feel it using their hands, heart and head. Here are some examples that illustrate the creative process.

Avoid Taking Your Lumps

Knowing your audience, and researching a highly targeted list is the first step in getting a positive Return On Investment (ROI). A ‘former’ politician who got caught-up in a local government scandal (surprise, surprise) moved away from the messy scene to a new city. He trained as a business coach and opened up shop with absolutely zero contacts.


A stress-reliever gavel was enclosed to bring up imagery of stress experienced under the judicial system.

The coaching business objective was to use lessons learned to coach local politicians. He joined the Chamber of Commerce, got the low-down on the local political scene, developed a list of 25 politicians that he wanted to meet, and created a lumpy mail package. His objective was to introduce himself with impact and set-up a lunch or casual meeting.

The promotional product he selected was a stress-reliever gavel to bring up imagery of the judicial system and the stress he experienced. He created a letter telling his story using controversy mixed with comedy to gain attention and create an emotional bond. He made sure to call each contact soon after the mail was delivered. His creativity and tenacity paid off. He met with all 25 prospects and got six of them as clients. Now don’t expect this level of success, a politicians job is to speak with their constituents so he had that going for him, too. If you are a small business or consultant be sure to test the package, fine-tune your message and make sure that every lead is followed-up with a phone call, email or other forms of communication to meet your ROI objectives.

Big Business Building Lump Sums

Large businesses that market within in the Business-to-Business (B2B) arena and sell products or services that generate a high-dollar volume often use lumpy mail very effectively. The objective is to build highly profitable business relationships or attract affluent clients.

Leather driving gloves and a letter from the CEO drove a 3-D campaign about a sporty new car

Marketing Envelope Ideas

A well-known advertising agency I worked for delivered a 3-D mail piece every two months to a targeted list of CEO’s. The objective was to feature the agency’s creativity on many levels. One example was a direct mail package that highlighting the agency’s’ launch of a campaign for an automotive client. The client developed a sleek, sporty, convertible, which was uncharacteristic for the established brand.

A gift box, customized with the agency’s logo, was filled with leather driving gloves and a letter from the CEO about how the team drove the clients advertising in a new direction. Corporate CEO’s at high levels often cross paths and the continuous flow of creative updates through an upscale form of lumpy mail made an ongoing impression.

Proceed Into New Dimensions With Caution

Lumpy Mail Products

Lumpy mail is very expensive. A first class letter that may cost around fifty cents to mail can jump to two-dollars, or more, by adding a small lumpy element. If you are planning to embark on a 3-D strategy keep in mind that the list is significantly more important than anything you put in the envelope. Like any marketing plan, start with an objective and the reaction and action you want to rouse. If the cost to acquire a new customer figures into your business model and you can project a significant ROI, then move forward cautiously, testing results along the way. Creativity in choosing your promotional product and tying it into your copy is a challenge, yet when all is done, it’s fun. Remember when choosing your promotional product and writing copy “ it is not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.”

Kevin Danaher

Kevin’s career spans over 30 years where he worked for New York Sales Promotion and Advertising agencies such as Ventura Associates, and BBDO developing promotional campaigns for some of the world’s leading brands including VISA, General Electric, Kraft/General Foods, Fidelity Investments, and Chrysler. Read More

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