Ford Focus direct mail effort – impressive spending but unimpressive mailer material that fails
i got a surprising knock at my house from LBC – they delivered an odd sized package to me. quickly, i made a mental audit – am i expecting a package or document from anyone? the quick answer was – none. bells in my mind rang! oh, is this a surprise from someone?
i opened the pack and i found a mailer from Ford on their new car, the Focus. i checked the envelope and yes it was addressed to me and it had my address. i wondered if it was sent to “occupant” or if it was sent to my house by mistake. no such mistake.
i was impressed with the direct mailing effort of Ford!
it was impressive as this was the first direct mail i got through LBC and this was addressed specifically to me. sending direct mail through LBC is a very expensive proposition. LBC cost alone is a killer of advertising budgets.
the other thing that is equally impressive was that it was specifically for me. i was surprised they got my name and address. coming from marketing and advertising myself, i have for many years not given out my name, address and even cell phone number to almost anyone or any organization that i thought can turn my personal information into data in a direct mail effort.
the most i do is sign my name when asked by any organization, including the schools of my children, retail outlets, stores or any other organization. when an address is required, all i put is the city name, not the complete address. for telephone or cell phone numbers, i would usually put some random number and very far from my real cell phone number.
this ford focus mailer was very targeted, having the ability to reach potential buyers. a targeted direct mail effort is very difficult for many direct mail agencies to pull off. this means this direct mail agency has a very good data base.
although i was impressed with the direct mail effort, i was not at all impressed with the mailer material they sent out.
the main weakness of the mailer is that it is just a re-layout of their print ads and a restating of the key elements of their TV ad. not saying the mailer should have a different advertising strategy and ad components from the TV and print ad, as they should have the same but they should have changed the execution and implementation of the elements.
the mailer does not look like a mailer, it looks like a print ad but printed in glossy paper and folded. except for the letter that came with it, the mailer had nothing in it from a design and content standpoint that will get the recipient to take action or even just enjoy the mailer.
aside from coming up with a new design appropriate for a mailer, it should have some elements that exploit the mailer format medium. it could have been more interactive or leading where the recipient will want to read, interact with or manipulate the mailer because it is interesting or creative.
the Focus has a few features that are unique in the market and potentially very attractive to potential car buyers. while these were mentioned in the mailer, it was not exploited in a way that is creative and compelling.
the mailer as an advertising medium is self contained and has the target audience practically as captive, designing the mailer to exploit the great features of the car and the characteristics of the medium would have served Ford very well.
another key weakness of this mailer is that it does not include some kind of an incentive for the recipient to take action – for the recipient to go to the Ford showroom and look at the car or as the letter suggests to test drive the car.
the end objective of this mailer is not just to generate awareness on the features of the car, it is to get the target audience to go to the showroom to look and test drive the car. the weak design of the mailer fails in achieving this key objective.
the mailer may succeed in informing the target audience of the features of the car but it may be failing in getting them to take action.
lacking this incentive and the weakness of the design and concept makes this mailer a WAWAM! What A Waste Of Advertising Money!
we will be going to a Ford showroom to complete the experience and effort of this mailer. will post a write-up here.
~~~ mindscape landmark ~~~