Just for the record, I’m not opposed to direct mail or paper or cleverness. I happen to think physical direct mail has more impact than its electronic cousins, and that done well it is a prudent use of resources to drive a desired end. Done poorly it’s just junk. If it’s clever but wasteful, pointless or otherwise insulting, then it’s still junk.

Last time we talked about a couple of bits of junk mail that made me cringe. Today I’ve got two great examples, both from the same agency.

Swire, a direct agency based in California sent me a very simple package: it consisted of a letter, with four brief paragraphs. The first lists their experience with other major players in my industry. Instant cred there. The second gets to the point by explaining the enclosed direct samples and the rationale and results for each. The third is flaky nonsense, which I ignored but the final paragraph is a wonderful clean, clear call to action with multiple points of contact offered. This shoemaker’s kid got the Jimmy Choos.

The second bit in the same package is a one-page case study of a campaign they executed on behalf of a company in the same industry as mine (though not a competitor). The page has objectives, strategy, results and design, all nicely presented and easily scanned in just a few seconds. It is, inexplicably, printed on card stock but otherwise no complaints.

Best of all, they include an actual sample of the piece. It’s about 11 by 5 inches with a fold and was produced for Insight Communications, a phone and internet provider targeting small business. And it’s a marvelous example of targeting both the F-Word and the G-Spot. (apologies for the photo quality; it was taken with a smartphone on an airplane)

The copy is spare and keeps the value proposition right up front (taking pressure off small business owners), while the headlines are benefit-oriented and each has just a handful of feature bullets to support it.

The offer is clear, the calls to action are obvious and a busy entrepreneur (who I would classify as a pragmatic F-Worder) could navigate this and make a decision in about ten seconds. This piece would also do nicely if the target were stressed-out office managers or other G-Spot type.

Bottom line: nice work that honors the dead trees on which it was printed.

Bizmarketer is Elizabeth Williams
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