Ugly and Unorganized Worked!

The artist and organizer in me is always looking for ways to make things attractive and neat. But if there is one thing that I learned over my years as a Creative Director specializing in direct mail, pretty and organized is not always what gets the highest response.

Years ago when I worked at Time‘s Consumer Marketing Department — when sweepstakes were a driving force in obtaining subscriptions —  I was reviewing the control. It was the most disorganized mailing I’d ever seen! Place this sticker somewhere to get the extra 10,000 dollar bonus… place another sticker on some other form to get the free gift… here’s a list of your prizes, but if you want this specific prize then check a box, etc…. BUT IT WORKED! Why? Because the customer was thinking: “If I could figure this out, I really might be a winner.”

This disorganization was true for this particular sweepstakes package, but it’s not necessarily the true for the direct response pieces we mail today. Each kind of piece draws its own emotional response from the customer. To find out what elicits that response in your customer, you must follow the direct mail mantra:  Test, test, test.