Direct Mail Products

What Big Brands Can Tell Us About Direct Mail

Creating successful direct mail is an art as well as a science, one that many big brands have mastered. These companies have not lost faith in using this channel to reach their audience. Instead, they’re right-sizing how much mail they send because they’re smarter in what they send and whom they target.

It certainly helps that they’re also taking advantage of printing efficiencies and postage discounts. These major mailers segment their databases and target messages to specific audiences. Sometimes, though, success lies in keeping things simple.

Here’s a quick look at what a few larger companies get right with their direct mail.

Total Wine Makes the Most of Space

Total Wine & More is one of the nation’s largest alcohol retailers, with nearly 200 stores across 24 states. Direct mail is an important part of its marketing outreach, like this postcard mailed last spring.

Notice anything special about the image on the front?

There’s a lot of space around the craft beer cans shown, an important design feature whose importance can’t be overstated. It draws the recipient’s attention and helps to support the headline “Celebrate with 1,500 craft beers.”

Retailers – both offline and online – should look for occasions like American Craft Beer Week to market to their customers when their competition isn’t. 

Another good tactic is the large coupon that dominates the back panel of the postcard. Whether it’s clipped from the mailer or left intact, a coupon is a valuable hot potato that drives traffic to the retail store. Some products are just better suited for in-store browsing and buying.


Subaru Sticks With What Works

Direct mail plays a big part in Subaru’s marketing mix. Unlike many automakers, all of its direct mail draws upon the same themes, whether promoting a new vehicle or maintenance offers at its dealership network.

“Love” is part of the brand, helping to create and emphasize a variety of lifestyles and activities that its cars and trucks help make possible. 

The front panel of this folded self-mailer recognizes the longevity of its cars by showing drivers on a trip to Grand Teton National Park. It connects their ability to enjoy such an experience to the kind of maintenance the mailer promotes in its Subaru Spring Service Event. 

On the inside panels, a letter reinforces this connection by providing driving tips for the changing road conditions of the new season. A panel of four coupons offers discounts on services like an oil change, battery test, and brake inspection.

Chewy Complements Its Product Line

As many pet owners will agree, there’s little that they won’t do to ensure the health and well-being of their canine and feline family members. This commitment has helped to fuel the rise of, the e-commerce giant that was acquired by Petsmart in part to compete with Amazon and Walmart, among others.

The three-panel self-mailer shown here is part of Chewy’s effort to build its market share in prescriptions, a potentially lucrative area of pet products. The front panel breaks out the big type to advertise the 15% discount. Together with the image of a dog wearing a stethoscope and an Rx logo, it quickly tells readers exactly what the offer is all about.

They can immediately take advantage of it online by using the code the mailer provides. But, let’s say they need more persuasion. The mailing folds out to reveal more sales copy on the inside panels, as well as testimonials and confidence-building headlines like “TRUSTED CARE” and “Pet Health Care Is Our #1 Priority.”

Tipped to the bottom panel is a gift card-sized reminder of the discount, which also mentions  another incentive for the first time: “FREE Shipping.”

Wrapping it up

Large brands don’t need to shift all of their direct mail to more targeted, fully personalized campaigns. Their brand names, and the fact they are using mail in the first place, automatically help their efforts stand out in a world where many expect them to abandon print for digital communications.

Self-mailers, postcards, and letters have a lot of simple, classic ways to grab and keep a customer’s attention and motivate them to act. Short headlines, interesting and high-quality images, and smart strategy can make a big difference in creating successful direct mail.

At, our printing experts will work with you to figure out your best options given your brand’s individual campaign goals as well as your budget.  

Please reach out to us! We’d love to show you how you can put today’s direct mail to work in your next campaign

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