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Not Normal Marketing Tips

July 2007: Are You Lumpy?
by Stephen Ghelerter

Ever receive an envelope in the mail that was obviously junk mail, and, just as you start to throw it in the trash, you feel a lump and realize it contains something more than just sales literature. So you open it.

What do you mail that can benefit from lumps? It could be an invoice or statement, a sales letter or brochure, a quotation or proposal. A little lumpiness may be the difference between being opened or trashed, or the difference between being thrown in the "open when I get around to it" pile, and being opened immediately.

Your lump can be some small promotional item: A calendar, letter opener, pen, bookmark, etc. The idea is to not only get them to open your envelope and read what is inside, but to keep and use your lump which hopefully would have your company imprint.

Know Your Lumps

There are two types of lumps: big and little. The bigger the lump, the more attention it is going to get. But the new postage rates can make big lumps expensive. In the old days - prior to May 14, 2007 - you usually had to pay for an additional ounce of postage for your lump. But now, the postal world has changed dramatically.

Currently, a one ounce letter is 41. Another ounce costs an additional 17, making the postage 58. But if your lump makes the envelope more than " thick, then you advance from the "letter" rate to the "flats" rate, making two ounces cost 97. If your thick lump is heavy, and makes the stuffed envelope weigh three ounces, your flat would cost $1.14, while a letter would be 75.

It only gets worse. If your envelope fails some other tests, like not being flexible enough, or having too much variation in thickness, you move to the even more expensive "parcel" rate.

The Not Too Lumpy World

There are many promotional products that are thin, light and flexible, but will give your envelope that lumpy feel. Some are refrigerator magnets, calendars, Rolodex cards, bookmarks, coasters, jar openers, and gift cards. And there are many, many more. 

Before you purchase one of these products, get the specs on it: the size - including thickness - and weight, so you can see how it will impact your postage cost. Some items are thin and light enough that they can be inserted with statements and invoices with no additional postage. If your envelope is not mailed, then you can include pens, and other items that are thick and not flexible.

Beyond Lumps

Keep in mind that your lump has two jobs: to get the envelope opened, and to be used as a promotional product. So get something that will be used. When choosing, keep in mind the type of customers you have and the time of year. 



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