Deliver Magazine. Mail Marketing Strategies from the U.S. Postal Service®

Chocolate Mail Delivers Sweet Results


direct mail samples

Here’s a sweet idea. Months before mailing a popular direct mail package that included ingredients for s’mores and one offering candy-coated trail mix, the Omniture Business Unit at Adobe® came up with an integrated campaign with a pie chart made from chocolate.

The campaign — which also directed recipients to personalized microsites — targeted 500 key U.S. and Canadian recipients that Adobe account executives hand selected as some of their hardest-to-reach prospects. It launched in February of 2010 with a teaser e-mail announcing that recipients should “Look for something sweet in the mail.”

A chart not to be ignored

The mailer from the online business optimization–focused firm arrived shortly afterward, a chocolate pie chart divided into three segments, with the smallest segment made of white chocolate, a larger segment of dark chocolate and the largest segment in milk chocolate. The chart was topped by a clear plastic molded cover with messaging printed across the center that contained the PURL for the prospect’s microsite.

Laura Laney, senior marketing manager of demand programs at Adobe, says her company chose the pie chart concept because it delivered a tangible depiction of data in a simple, engaging format. And no other channel was going to bring that point home, literally, like direct mail.

“The visual representation makes the complex data behind the scenes easy to understand, which is what we were trying to get across to the prospects in the program,” Laney explains. “Our solutions make their complex and overwhelming amounts of data easy to understand and enable their company to make actionable decisions based on their data. The pie chart is quickly and easily understood by our target audience, and making the chart out of chocolate is unusual and attention grabbing.”

Once recipients were driven to the microsites by the mailer, they found a personal message from an Adobe account executive with enough individual details to show that the sales rep had done his homework about the target and really knew who he or she was.

Keep it simple and follow through

Shortly after the mailer went out, follow-up elements included e-mails, a postcard and communication from the sales team. “We made sure to carry the pie chart concept through all of the contact pieces of the program, from the e-mails to the website,” Laney says.

Based on the program’s response, the message was well received. Of the 500 contacts, 58 prospects responded to Adobe for a strong response rate of 11.6 percent. Even better, the company estimates that the return on investment for the piece came in around a whopping 289 percent.

“This was our first integrated direct mail program, and our sales teams were very excited for the program’s potential,” Laney says. “The account executives reported that the direct mail packages were well received and accomplished the goal of getting conversations started with hard-to-reach prospects.”

Laney attributes that success to the steady follow-up and support of the sales team, as well as the fact that the pie chart brought a complicated concept down to a straightforward and easily digestible message.

“The big idea of your marketing program must make sense for your product/solution and clearly express your value proposition to your target audience,” she says. “If it requires too much thought for your prospect to figure out what your direct mail has to do with your company and solution, the campaign will fail.”

Dimensional Mail, Large Business, Medium Business, Prospecting, Small Business, Targeting