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Insights and inputs from our team and around the web.

When designing a direct mail piece, have you ever thought about how the recipient’s eye travels around it? Understanding this basic reader behavior can help you improve your results, even if your design is already working for you.

In the previous blog, we busted some of the myths or misperceptions about promotional products. Now, let's address some commonly asked questions about promotional products.

There are a number of beliefs out there that will lead you to believe that promotional items are a waste of money and effort, and that is simply not the case.

Follow along and watch as the preconceived beliefs about promotional items dissipate.

If you were among the 100 million Americans who viewed Super Bowl LV, then you saw the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win on their home turf. This is the first time the Super Bowl has even taken place on the home field of a team in the Super Bowl, let alone win it.

But if you watched this year's Super Bowl you not only got to watch a historic first time ever event, but you might have noticed a change in pace with many of the advertisements.

Cars aren't cheap. You pay for the car, maintenance, oil, the new tires, the wind shield wipers, coolant, insurance, gas, registration and probably a dozen other things.

When it comes to cars you always have the conversation about the miles per gallon, but have you had a conversation about the marketing per mile? If you're already paying for insurance and gas, might as well look at a reasonable way to use it to get in front of an audience.

Let's talk about an audience.

There are a number of cities where public transportation it a good option, but for most Americans, traveling by car is a necessity.

Marketing has a lot of moving parts. When organizing a campaign, you’re considering what channels to use, the target audience, the frequency of messages, design, language of communication, and so much more. It’s a complex task to try to know how to:

  • say the right thing
  • to the right people
  • at the right time
  • in the right mode

That’s a lot of factors you have to try to get right.

In this blog we are going to focus on the language of communication or saying the right thing and using tying in some psychology to consider.

What do all great direct mail pieces have in common? They engage people’s curiosity from the moment the mail piece gets into their hands. Here are five tips for capturing readers’ attention as soon as they open the mailbox.

1. Know your corners.

On a mail piece, the upper right-hand corner is where our eyes go first. Use this location to place teaser copy or compelling data such as “99% customer satisfaction rate!” It’s a secret that all highly effective catalogers know — and now you know it, too.

2. De-clutter.

When the layout is cluttered, it’s hard for people to focus on any one thing. Use white space to draw the eye and make information easy to absorb. Instead of heavy blocks of text, use bulleted or numbered lists.

3. Tap psychology.

Have you ever heard of techniques such as the Zeigarnik Effect, Von Restorff Effect, or Noble Edge Effect? These techniques use brain science to capture attention and engage your audience.

The Zeigarnik Effect is when information is left unfinished. Leave people hanging, and they feel compelled to open...

The Van Restorff Effect is the use of content that is out of place to capture attention. Old Spice used this to significant effect with its “Smell Like a Man” campaign.

The Noble Edge Effect taps people’s desire to be associated with positive social or environmental causes. (more coming on Psychology and Direct Mail next week!)

4. Use testimonials.

People trust other shoppers more than they do marketers, so use customer testimonials to let other buyers promote your product. Use QR Codes or AR to bring those endorsements to life by taking shoppers directly to mobile video.

5. Have a clear CTA.

How many direct mail pieces have unfulfilled potential because someone forgot to include a call to action (CTA)? Don’t assume that readers will automatically know what you want them to do. Add urgency or additional value by giving a deadline, offering an extra discount for early response, or providing other motivators to encourage people to respond right away.

These are a few simple tips to better your direct mail, however, the real effects that you will see with your direct mail is the money you invest in how you measure and track results. Get in touch with us about the availability for direct mail through Tactix360.

Catch our blog next week as we dive deeper into some psychology and direct mail/marketing.

Maybe if you're like me, you feel like the end of the year has popped out of nowhere. Spring merged into the summer, and then the leaves were orange and now, bam, it's December. Which means... everything and everyone is in holiday mode and has been for the last six weeks. Sound about right?

Small businesses, we know that you have had a hard go this year. There have been shut-downs and then ability to reopen with new guidelines, and then a couple few week closures once again. Some of you may have been closing and wondering if it's worth being open or whether to close your doors for the time being, but don't let the date intimidate you. You have a few weeks and then the new year rolling around, you got this!

Since COVID, there has been a large social media platform to shop small businesses. On Instagram, you can add a special sticker for "shop small businesses" and on other platforms see the hashtag "shopsmallbiz" and many variations.

People recognize how hard it was on restaurants, small personal stores, and service businesses who work for themselves and have been pushing to avoid big online and department store shopping for their holiday gifts and pushing to support their local community and friends and family. This year has impacted many individuals in different ways, and they want to help!

My biggest piece of advice, is to make it personal, because your business is personal! On everything that you are sending out, include your story, your why, about your business.

Thank them for helping you fulfill your dream, investing in you, trusting you, letting you give your service or knowledge, letting you get back on your feet, whatever it may be. Keep this in mind as you consider some of these stationery options:

Gift Cards

These can be easy gifts for others. Someone may know you and want to support your business, but they wouldn't use your services. This way they can support you and give the card to someone who will use it and come into you. This is also a great way to grow your business through word of mouth.

Thank You Cards

Especially if you aren't super busy this right now, take the time to right a personal thank you. It will mean a lot to the customer and these personal touches go a long way with what attitude they develop towards your business.

Referral Reward Cards/Punch Cards

This incentivizes customers to come back and use you again and pass it on to their friends and family. Rewards programs act as a promotion that give on the cusp customers reason to buy.

Direct Mail

This is one of the best options you can do. Let's develop a campaign together.

You can break it up into different ideas, but we would recommend doing a few pieces within a specific amount of time to really target your audience and get some traction. Some ideas could be:

  1. Last minute reminder/ deal/ promotion before holidays
  2. Forecasting your business and menu/options/services for the upcoming year
  3. Coupon or promotion

Or we can target your audience and get a really good piece out, measure metrics and then reevaluate and come up with a new game plan.With our tactix360 technology, we can work with you to create a campaign that is personal to custom information, followed up with on social-media profiles, and tracking the mail until it's received.

We started off as one location in Dallas, Texas. We did blueprints and worked with construction plans and architects and slowly grew and expanded and then started adding more capabilities.

It really has been a journey with many improvements, redirections, changes, updates, and planning that has gotten us to where we are today. This year has been a ride for us as well, and to all the small businesses out there, we applaud you because we have been there with you.

It all starts small, and we love to see businesses grow and can be there to provide all of your printing needs no matter how small or large your journey takes you.

It's not a secret. The more comfortable you make it for people to respond to your offer, the more likely they will do it. This is one reason that the combination of direct mail and email is so powerful. It provides more opportunities for the recipient to say "yes." But unlike direct mail, email requires the recipient to opt-in. So how do you get people with inboxes already full of marketing communications to opt into one more — yours?

Here is a complied list on ways you can reduce the barriers to email opt-in and make it easy for your target audience to say "yes."

This at home new work style has made work relationships increasingly harder to maintain. For those of us that are completely remote, it's become a lonely work environment.

No more chit chat on your coffee break.

No more saying hi to your coworker you've become friends with to ask how their kids are doing.

No more team work meetings that make you leave feeling upbeat.

Social interaction for many can be a critical part of feeling included and wanting to work. When we feel like we belong, we are more confident and perform better. So how can you make your employees feel like they belong? Increase employee engagement.

Here are a few ways to increase employee engagement:

It’s essential to pay attention to the marketing trends around you. If you haven't noticed, much of fashion is started in one area of the world and then spreads, dies and comes back ten or twenty years later. Whether it’s a new color palette, a unique design aesthetic, or the need to be sensitive to specific social issues, paying attention helps you stay relevant.

Marketing strategies come and go as well. However, regardless of what’s "in" and trending right now, there are staple princples that will remain inspite of chaning trends.

These are seven essentials of direct response marketing that you should be incorporating every time.

Temperatures are cooling, but the political rivalries are getting heated. For these political campaigns, it's getting to the wire!

This is a campaign season like one we’ve never seen. Many of the ways in which campaigns have been conducted before are obsolete now. Knocking on doors and polls are out with the condition and spread of Covid-19. There are few rallies, but nothing like any of the political events that went on in previous years.

Television ads are still an option but considering how many people cut cable and switched to streaming services in leu of the pandemic. If you don't have an audience on TV, go to them.

If you think that using data — by itself — makes a mailing feel personal, think again.

How many times have you received a direct mail piece or email that used your name or “personalized” images, but was irrelevant to you? Probably more often than all of us marketers would like to admit.

Say you are a golf fanatic, and you receive a sporting goods catalog personalized with your name on the front cover, plastered with an image of the latest softball gear. Or you receive an incentive to bring your car in for a tune-up six months after your car was due. Or you made a one time purchase of a gift for a family member or friend, and now you are getting monthly mailers for these products you have no interest in. Do any of these sound familiar? As a marketer, you don’t want to make the same mistake.

For many, roughly a third of your time involves work. With that much time spent in one place, how and where you work has a large impact on all workers. In the previous blogs, it has been discussed how investing in employees and their work environment promotes employee retention and why that is so critical. There is an interesting quote by Winston Churchill, he said that "we shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us." In this article we are discussing how a work environment can encourage creativity, collaboration and promote mental health.

In the last blog post about retaining employees through creating moments, we lined out the stats about how costly voluntary employee turnover is. It's not cheap. It's worth it to invest in your employees and provide a space where they feel valued and heard and have high work satisfaction.

Everyone knows the phrase, "money makes the world go 'round". I would challenge that money and retention are interchangeable.

Retention makes the business world go 'round.

Think about it. Retention is a large contributing factor as to whether a company sinks or floats. However, the majority of the focus is external on the customer retention. It is much cheaper to keep an existing customer than have to find new ones, or hope that they find you. Marketing campaigns all revolve around retention... point systems to encourage customers to become frequent shoppers to get rewards and deals, discounts offered at the bottom of receipts to bring them back, emails taken at point of purchase to bring them back later, etc.

Do we focus on employee retention with the same rigor? Employee retention is the same way in the sense that it is much cheaper and more beneficial to slow employee turnover.

No client retention = no revenue.
No employee retention = no company.

Print continues to receive a lot of attention from marketers. Why? First, because it works. Second, it’s simply less annoying. (According to, print is 43% less annoying than the Internet.) Less annoying or not, there are many incorrect perceptions about print that cause marketers to overlook its value. Let’s look at three myths about print marketing and the reality behind them.

You know, numerous titles came to mind for this blog. "Pandemic Marketing", though true, sounded like it was fit for a sci-fi movie. "Marketing to Our Upside Down World" was maybe a little too dramatic — though we have been thrown off our normal activities, society isn't falling apart. So, I went with the title above to emphasize that different circumstances are going to take us by surprise, but success always has and will continue to come from adapting to the circumstances.

Just a week ago, we posted a blog about what to do if your trade show events got cancelled, but now it is no longer a question of if, but for how long will events like these be cancelled. Everything has changed so rapidly in the past week, it's hard to believe that it's only been a week instead of a month. Changes have occurred rapidly as new information is released about COVID-19. We are amid a health crisis, and times such as these are affecting the global economy.

We understand that this health crisis is hitting many industries extremely hard, and our hearts reach out to you. We too are alongside you, experiencing these difficulties. In this blog, we are going to specifically address the restaurant industry. We know that this isn't something you anticipate when you sit down with your board and discuss potential threats to your company. These are hard times, especially because of the uncertainty. How long will this last? How long will we be allowed to serve through delivery and curbside take out? Will any of our taxes be exempt? What kinds of changes do we need to make in wages and policy in order to make it through?

In an article posted by The Dallas Morning News, it addresses the announcement made by Governor Gregg Abbott. Schools, dining areas, gyms and bars are closed at least until April 3rd, 2020 statewide in order to limit the spread of the corona-virus. "While dining in at restaurants and bars will not be allowed, Abbott encouraged Texans to continue ordering food from local eateries for pickup or delivery". Governor Cuomo is announcing New York on pause. All non-essential businesses and gatherings are closed or banned for the time being (Department of Health).

Though dining areas are closed, drive-thrus, take-out and curbside service are allowed. We are here to help supply your printing needs to keep your restaurant running as smoothly as it can given these health crisis circumstances.

Curbside Carry-Out Signage

Banners, A-Frame Signs & Yard Signs - All of these can be used to show customers driving by that you are still in fact open for business or to show deals and items you are offering.

Menu Boards - Some additions or changes to menus might need to be made, or posting a menu in the front window might not be a bad idea for restaurants without a drive-thru who are still offering carry-out.

Flyers/Coupons - It might not be a bad idea to put a coupon inside of your carryout orders. Offers serve as an incentive to your customers to come back, and in a time like this, customers returning is a driving fear.

Check out these and other options we have available for signage here.

Other items to consider

  • If you already have an app, make it so customers can place curbside orders through your app.
  • Make your current menu (and updated menu if applicable) available either through your app or website.
  • If moving to delivery, make sure you call your insurance to see what needs to be done.
  • If serving alcohol, please investigate the local and restaurant laws, especially in regards to the type of license you hold. Please be cautious.
  • Adjusting menus. Some more upscale restaurants may need to make their menus cheaper by selling different items in order to make meals more within a $10-$15 range. many are out of work at this time, and you need to be conscientious of others and their economic standing.

The Thomas Printworks team is here to help where we can, we are hoping you and yours the best.

Are you wondering if your trade show, like many other events, will be cancelled? Then you're in the same boat as the rest of us... no pun intended.

A few cruises have been quarantined due to outbreaks of the COVID-19 virus, and the cruise industry is scrambling to make arrangements for the high number of cancellations and survive while their bookings are decreasing significantly (The Washington Post).

The NBA, along with other major sports, are postponing games until further notice because two NBA players tested positive for the coronavirus (ESPN).

President Donald Trump has issued restrictions on foreign travel in order to prevent an outbreak of the virus within the United States, and the traveling industry is seeing tens of thousands of flights cancelled (myFT).

Most schools have cancelled classes for the next few weeks, and many universities have shifted classes to meet online for the next while. Schools will determine the outcome of the semester remaining upon evaluation in a few weeks.

Even Disneyland, the happiest place on earth, will be closed until the end of March to comply with the executive order from the governor of California (CNN).

Numerous events have been cancelled, and by the looks of it, there's a great chance many trade shows will experience cancellation as well if you have not already been notified of a cancellation or postponement.

If you find yourself with a cancelled trade show, don't fret! Not all hope is lost. Direct mail and other channel marketing can be used as great tools to connect with attendees and potential customers.

Check out this infographic, including statistics regarding direct mail and other marketing channels:

Direct response marketing infographic

Need help organizing a direct mail initiative? We are eager to help. Write us the details and we will be in contact with you shortly.

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