Sometimes it pays to look outside your normal circle of peers for inspiration. Here’s a postcard I received recently from the Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife. What do fishing licenses have to do with B2B demand generation? Not much. But the very fundamental direct marketing principles on display here (beautifully executed, I might add) are lessons we can all take to heart, whether we’re selling software or sport fishing.
1. Don’t underestimate the visual impact of a) children and b) animals.
2. Action-oriented headline (“Share”). In just a few concise words, this headline is both benefit-oriented (“last a lifetime”) but also drives the reader to action.
3. Clear, prominent call to action. (“Buy your fishing license today.”)
4. If the average technology marketing manager had written this copy, it would have begun:
“As a parent, you understand the value of time with your child. In today’s fast-paced home life of soccer practices, video games, and MTV, parents are finding opportunities for true quality time harder to come by, especially in outdoor activities. However, even a few precious moments spent outside with your son or daughter can build memories that will last a lifetime. And the graphics are AWESOME.”
Too often, tech marketers rely on plodding introductory copy intended to “set up” the selling message. Fuhgeddaboudit! Just get to the point for pete’s sake, as the writer does here (“Catch a little time … together.”)
5. The objective of this campaign is not to convince people to go fishing, or why fishing is fun, or to build brand awareness for the Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife. It’s to sell fishing licenses. Every word of the copy drives the reader to that desired action. Nothing is wasted. Note the consistent use of action-oriented verbs: Catch, Get back, Renew, Buy.
6. Clear, prominent call to action, with several options provided for convenience (but all with the same offer.)
7. Mailing information incorporated creatively into the direct mail layout. Most postcards leave a jarring, blank white space for the address block and barcode. Here the designer weaved that white space seamlessly into the design.
(If anyone from the DFW is reading this, I’ll buy my license soon. Promise.)