How to Pass the 3:33 Rule and Add Longevity to Your B2B Direct Marketing Campaigns

Here’s a snippet from Pat Friesen writing for Target Marketing Magazine in November 2007

The 3:33 Rule

Are you familiar with direct mail’s three minute and 33 second (3:33) rule? It’s important when you talk about “openability”.

The 3:33 rule suggests you have three seconds or less to stand out in the mail and stay out of the trash, then 30 seconds to engage the reader enough to get opened and make the “short stack” for later reading. After the first 33 seconds-if you actually get the reader inside your mail piece-she spends an additional three minutes or less reading it and deciding whether or not to respond.

B2B Direct Marketing and the Importance of the Mailing Pack – the first 3 seconds

Business to Business Direct marketing can be a huge waste of money unless you get it right – so you need to get it right first time. You need a promotional marketing piece that will have a big attention-grabbing quality and you need to send it out in a pack that will be easily spotted in the stack of mail on your customer’s desk.

Far too many B2B Direct Marketing campaigns go straight to the bin, often before the envelope has even been opened and therein lays the first problem – envelopes. A flat, plain white envelope with a frank or a PPI holds absolutely no mystery whatsoever. Send your B2B Direct Mail out in a plain white envelope and your campaign is already well on the way to generating a high level of indifference. With that thought firmly in mind, you should give very strong consideration to the type of carrier to use.

The saying goes that you get only one chance to make a first impression and the first impression that your customer has of your promotional mailer is the appearance of the mailing pack. I suggest that your mailer should have a degree of bulk and should be made to look like some sort of gift or “freebie”. This way, the mailer will be opened with eager anticipation rather than total indifference. The argument against this is that the postage costs will increase but believe me, paying postage to send an item that is thrown straight into the bin makes a whole lot less sense.

B2B Direct Marketing & the Importance of Holding Customer’s Attention – the next 30 secs

Once the mailing pack has done its first job in attracting the reader’s attention it then has to entice the reader to open it. I believe that the pack has to be designed in a way that is not too hard to open and leads to the main promotional piece without too much trouble. I say this as the promotional piece itself will take care of the next few minutes – no problem! A B2B promotional mailer needs to capture the imagination of your customer and automatic pop-up products are an obvious choice to do this. The pop-up action carries with it the elements of surprise, fun, interaction and curiosity. A rubber-band-powered automatic pop-up product like a pop-up cube or a pop-up box will easily pass the 30 second test and will usually account for the next few minutes during which time your promotional message has been well and truly digested.

B2B Direct Marketing & the Importance of Extending Your Marketing Campaign’s Life Span

There are direct marketing professionals who would be absolutely delighted for their campaign to have ticked the boxes discussed thus far but why stop there? What is there to say that the promotional piece should stop working after it has created such a big impact? To achieve this you don’t need to do much more than to add a few holes in the top surface on the pop-up cube or pop-up box. By doing this you can turn your promotional mailer into a promotional pen holder – a product that will stay on your customer’s desk top for months and months. Not only will the pop-up mailer fulfil its original obligation by capturing your customer’s attention, it then goes on to be a permanent promotion for your company right there on your customer’s desk top.

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