Postal personality

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Imagine our delight when a small pizza box arrived with our daily stack of mail. Instinctively, we grabbed the box only to find not a pizza parlor logo on top but a picture of a PC On Call computer repair truck with the words, “PC On Call Delivers! Expert Computer Repair and Service – On Site!”

Sure, we were disappointed there was no pizza, but it got our attention. Inside the box, the lid becomes a computer monitor and the interior is decorated with a photo of a computer keyboard and a pizza.

Inside, on square sheets of paper, there’s an introduction letter, PC On Call background information, description of services and employee contact information. It’s the same basic information mailed to us every day but delivered in a creative way. It conveys the message that PC On Call “delivers” computer repair.

We at SBN Magazine get heaps of direct mail every day from companies, PR agencies and authors eager for copy in our publication. Too often, the mail is a generic press release enclosed in a glossy folder with a CEO mug shot and/or company logo. These packages are usually routed to the circular file (trash can) or stuck in a pile that might as well be labeled “Throw away in three months.”

But every so often we get an innovative direct mail promotional package, and it’s not always from a Ford Motor Co. or a Microsoft, which can afford to dump millions into marketing materials. This time it was from PC On Call.

Kevin Boothe, PC On Call’s director of marketing, developed the pizza delivery concept with Dan Pinger Public Relations in Cincinnati.

“We were looking for some unique way to break through the clutter,” Boothe says. “We wanted it to be creative and relevant to our business. There’s nothing worse than to get a tchotchke of some sort and then ask, ‘What did they send me this for? It has nothing to do with what they do.'”

The mailing was part of a media awareness campaign PC On Call launched at the beginning of the year.

There’s still one question: How did they know we like pizza so much?

How to reach: PC On Call Inc., (888) PC-ONCALL or www.pconcall.com; Dan Pinger Public Relations, (513) 564-0700

Send a message

Creative direct mail will get you noticed, but it must deliver a clear message about your company or it’s headed for dumpster.
Stacy Stufft, senior account executive at Dan Pinger Public Relations in Cincinnati, offers these suggestions for designing your creative direct mail package.

Define your goal. “Sending something for the sake of sending it out or the sake of being creative isn’t going to be effective unless it ultimately calls someone to act,” Stufft says. “In our case, it was a softer sell, just reminding the media to turn to PC On Call in terms of a source.”

Make your company unique. For PC On Call, its distinction was delivery. That’s what it does best. That’s what differentiates it in the market.

Be targeted. Figure out who you want to reach and how you’re going to reach them. PC On Call’s mailing was targeted to members of the print media. “You don’t want to send out expensive mailings to prospects that won’t be interested,” Stufft says.

PC On Call