Skip to Main Content

Business to Business Direct Mail 101

Posted by Brian Berg Google+


Decision makers at businesses evaluate a multitude of offers from direct mail, internet, cold calls, and print space within their respective industry journals and magazines.  They are bombarded by messages on relevant subject matter pertaining to everything a business could need and more. 


Over time, business decision makers become aware of the brands that circulate within their peripheral.  The same monthly magazine containing relevant articles are filled with print advertising that continually reinforces their branded logos they saw 7 to 30 days prior.  The messages start to become repetitive and the advertisement is given less and less attention.  The direct mail they receive is also repetitive. 


A direct mail piece that’s gimmicky stands to be noticed quicker and tossed in the trash just as fast, where as a direct mail piece that contains informative helpful information is more apt to be considered.  With so little time spent on viewing a post card or flyer, the direct mail marketer can only say so much before the direct mail recipient becomes uninterested, and tosses the mail piece. So with those 4 to 6 seconds of attention, what does the direct mail marketer say? 


Traditionally, the direct mail piece contains the basic necessary information each time….who, what, where, and why.  But before long, getting these points out is the burden of the direct mail marketer.  Before long, you’ve not offered much more than contact info and unless the direct mail recipient is looking for your phone number at that moment, they may just toss it in the trash. T


he key to making direct mail work for this business decision maker audience is to focus on the “why”.  Why would a direct mail recipient consider your mail piece over and over again as they receive it?  What would you offer that would continually grad their attention and cause them to call?  The “why” is the offer that the direct mail marketer makes that stands out from the rest.  Staples and Office Max do a good job keeping their offers relevant by including a discount card of $15 Off on your next $50 or $100 purchase. 


This works because inevitably, the business decision maker will be needing office supplies at some point.  The offer is strong, contains an expiration date that calls for action, and is in the shape of a credit card that tucks neatly into your wallet. When it comes to business to business direct mail marketing, it’s important to consider mailing again and again over time to the same audience but with a different “why” each time.  The goal of the direct mail marketer is to both reinforce the brand, as well as generate response. 


The direct mail marketer does this by including consistent layout and logo art, consistent creative work and paper quality, and consistent offer location.  The offer must be absolutely relevant to the direct mail recipient.  A weak offer says only one thing to the direct mail recipient and that is that this business making you this offer doesn’t really understand your needs.  Perhaps they’ll miss out on the product or service quality also??? Business decision makers are much more logical than emotional.  They buy office furniture because they need it, not because they want it. 


They purchase toner for the printer because if they don’t, the printer will not perform its function.  They spend only what they have to because the job of this business decision maker is to spend only what they need and invest the rest.  If it’s a business related product or service you’re selling, be sure you understand your clients trigger point on what they “need” to run their business. When evaluating your direct mail piece message, consider what’s in it for them first. 


Imagine yourself in their shoes and ask yourself, what could you possibility offer them that would certainly keep their attention and what would be relevant to your business.  Keep in mind that the more relevant your offer is, the more qualified your sales leads will become.