Exploding the Response of Your Direct Mail

By: Bill Glazer on: December 15th, 2009 9 Comments

This is the transcript from an interview Bill Glazer did with Keith & Travis Lee:

What we are going to be talking about today is a particular type of strategy, although it’s very, very far reaching, which is involved with the use of my favorite media that there  is by far and away is direct mail. That’s really where I originally cut my teeth in marketing, and its one that I prefer to do over any other one. And, this is the use of something that we have recently called 3-D mail, although there are some other names for it which are similar to it and we will get into it.

And, I am joined today by the current Glazer-Kennedy 3-D mail aficionados, the famous father and son team, Keith and Travis Lee. How are you guys doing?

Keith Lee: Just great, Bill.

Travis Lee: Doing good Bill, thanks.

Bill: So, we want to talk about 3-D mail and you guys have sort of taken on that mantra of being the experts of that. And, also in those interesting being the suppliers of 3-D mail objects which we will let people know later, if they want to, how they can learn more information about that. I don’t know which one of you want to jump in first, but let’s talk about making sure that people know what we are talking about, so what is 3-D mail?

Travis: 3-D really says it all when you are talking about 3-D mail. It has length, it has width, and it has depth. It is bulky mail stuff that comes in your mail and it doesn’t look like anything else in the mail that you are getting that day. Many other people have called it lumpy mail, or dimensional mail. They all pretty much mean the same thing. And in a lot of cases it’s not even just an envelope that can be lumpy. You know you put a lot of things in an envelope that can give it some shape and some form. But, it can also be like a trashcan, or a treasure chest, or a message in a bottle. Any number of different things that are going to cut the clutter in your direct mail and set you apart from everything else your prospects or clients are getting these days.

Bill: We are going to be talking later on in this call about why it’s so important to be thinking about 3-D mail. I’ve used it and continue to use it often in my marketing. Certainly in my former business as a menswear retailer I used it often, and I still us it now to market Glazer-Kennedy. And, we will be talking about why that’s a smart thing to do, but you guys formed this company. Keith, I am going to let you answer this question. You guys formed this company which is called the 3-D Mail, and so why did you decide to start this whole business to provide people with what they need in order to incorporate 3-D mail?

Keith: Well, the company is actually 3-D Mail Results and I started it for a number of reasons. One is I learned about this 3-D mail stuff years and years ago. I’d been around Dan Kennedy since around 1991 or 1992, I got involved, I don’t remember exactly?

Bill: Are you sure that wasn’t 1891?

Keith: It feels that way sometimes. But, I’ve been around a long time and the reality is if you go back to Magnetic Marketing in the mid ‘90’s one of my 3-D mail pieces was in that version of Magnetic Marketing, I think it’s still in Magnetic Marketing today. So, I’ve been using 3-D mail for however many years, that is, and not only with that original piece but in pieces as I went on. And, one of the things that happened is I got kind of tired of looking for these things, and where am I going to find them. And, where am I going to find them at a decent price?

Our main business is that we distribute fixtures and supplies for retail stores. So, we’ve been buying out of the Orient directly, I started going over there in 1981. So, we’ve been buying directly out of the Orient for whatever, thirty years, or whatever that is? We are also, our main business is, we’re a distributor. We ship around 300 packages out of our various warehouses every day. So, we are good at buying, we are good at sourcing things from the Orient, we are good at shipping things.

And, by being around Glazer-Kennedy, and going to the national events and being around, I thought there was just a need for this because I had it in my own business. And, I looked and I found that, okay, if I buy these for my own business and then buy a whole bunch more for the Glazer-Kennedy people, I can provide this stuff at prices that have literally never been seen before in this industry. And, I know how to buy, we know how to distribute, and I love marketing, and it just seemed like a perfect fit. And, I came to the Master Mind meeting, Bill, and talked about it. And, the guys there said, basically said, you are nuts if you don’t do this. So, that’s why we got into it. We saw a need there in the Glazer-Kennedy group, and we knew we had the core competency if you will to meet that need.

Bill: One other thing I will mention about it, at that Master Mind meeting when you were there, with the response that you got from everybody so overwhelmingly was that they certainly, because they are all astute marketers, understand the value of this and the use of this. But what they were struggling with was finding a good consistent place to constantly supply it to them. They are getting a little piece here, and a little piece there, and this person was letting them down and not getting back to them when they requested it, so they were frustrated. So, I think you identified that.

Keith: Exactly, and what we saw also is that not only going here and there to get the thing. One of my frustrations, okay, you could get the expensive things if you went here, but you couldn’t get the cheap things. So, then you had to shop all over the place for both of these places, and the expensive things, if you will, the exotic things, you know, the trash cans, the bank bag, the message in a bottle, I knew from using some of them myself in my own marketing that the prices that us and the GKIC group were paying for that stuff were atrocious. When I sourced them myself I could find them for much better pricing again using our Orient sources and that type of thing, and an example is, the trash can going from $4.00 – $5.00 up to $7.00 if you are in small quantities. Our highest price on that in small quantities is, what Travis?

Travis: $1.89?

Keith: No, it’s not that high, it’s $1.69, I think is our small quantity price and we go down to $1.20 something. So people are paying a quarter of what they used to pay for that stuff.

Bill: Okay this call is sort of starting to sound to me too much like the home shopping network.

Travis: Well, that’s why I got into it Bill.

Bill: Let’s move from this whole thing of being able to save money because saving money should not really be the driving force. So, let me go back over to Travis for a second and get rid of our sort of our barker. So, Travis, let me ask you a question so I really want to keep this call to really talk about the meat about why people really want to use 3-D mail. And, the next thing I want to talk about is, what we do know, every test that we’ve seen, we do know that 3-D mail, by using this kind of dimensional mail if you would, gets an increased result and also improves your return on investments. So, we will talk about that and so first of all Travis, share with me why that is the case.

Travis: Well, Bill, you hit it right on the head. All of our tests show that 3-D mail does work, and quite frankly why it works I’ve heard you and Dan say it plenty of times. We don’t really care why it works, we just know it works. So, that’s the biggest why to use it. But, I will get back to price here for just a second. Only because it is R.O.I., it’s all

Bill: You mean the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree?

Travis: Well, it’s all based on R.O.I. and that’s all we are really concerned about with that is your return on investment. That’s, we don’t really concern ourselves with response rate. I get a lot of people that call up and ask, “What kind of response rate have you got with that?” And, I will tell them a number that we’ve seen or we’ve got or we have seen our clients get. And, I always say, “You know, it’s not really about your response rate, you don’t put that in the bank.” I know I’ve heard Dan say that as well, “You don’t put response rate in the bank; you put money in the bank.” So, it is really all about that return on investment. And, the one thing you want to do is you always want to be testing, that is a big part of using your 3-D mail is to test that as much as you can. Test it against your current control that may be a flat piece or start out with it on a first mailing and see what your return on investment is.

But, to get back to your main question of why does 3-D mail get such great results. The first and foremost is that if your mail doesn’t get opened it simply can’t be read. You can’t make a sale with the letter still in the envelope or still in the box or still in the FedEx envelope. You are just not going to make the sale if it’s still in there. And, actually I am going to defer to Keith here a little bit on it. It turns your mail into “A” pile mail, which is really what we are looking for here. I learned about “A” pile mail from Keith back when I was stuffing his envelopes back in 1993 for some easy money back when I was in junior high school. Keith, why don’t you talk about “A” pile mail for just a second?

Keith: Years and years ago, Gary Halbert, Dan Kennedy and learning from those guys and the whole idea, and I think this actually may have come from you, Bill. But, it’s been so darn many years I don’t even remember. And that is, if you’ve gone to the doctors and you went there and the doctor had you take some test and the results of those tests were going to tell you whether you had terminal cancer and had two months to live or not, or whether you were just fine. And, so you go take the tests and then you go home, and you go out to the mailbox and you see a package from ABC Lab results, the same place you went to get your tests done. And, are you going to open that mail or not? And, the whole idea, and again I think this came from you, is of course you are going to open that. You are going to rip it open so fast you can’t believe it. And, that’s what we want our 3-D mail to be. That’s what we want in direct response and direct mail, but for all of our mailing to do, is be that “A” type mail. We don’t want it to be the “C” type. The “C” type is the stuff that’s screams out to you that, “I’m a bill,” or, well not a bill. A bill is actually a “B” type because you do have to eventually open that, but “C” type mail is something that comes to you and says, “I’m here to sell you something.” And, often that mail never even gets opened. I know that a good share of mine doesn’t, and I know a good share of a lot of people’s doesn’t. Never gets opened or it may get opened and glanced at for a second and then thrown away. That’s not where we want our mail. We don’t even want it in the “B” pile, the stuff that, oh yeah you’ve got to do something with sometime. It’s a bill or whatever the case may be. We want it to be that “A” pile mail, we want it to be that mail that just can’t resist being opened up and again, I learned all of that from you and Dan and Gary Halbert and guys like that, Bill.

Bill: Well, I would tell people who are listening to this call right now, think of your own human nature. When you get your mail and you go through the big of pile of mail that we all get everyday in our mailbox, and actually most of us get two piles of mail. One of them we get at home and the other one we get at work. And, if you are going through that pile of mail, and as you are touching each individual envelope, if you feel something with some kind of dimension inside the envelope, well just the curiosity itself kind of makes you want to open that thing up, because dimension to somebody translates to something of value. “Hey, there’s something in here that’s a gift, or something that I want.” So, that’s very, very often the concept behind 3-D mail is adding 3-D to your mail the curiosity factor makes somebody really, really want to open it up.

The other things that you guys mentioned, is that 3-D mail doesn’t necessarily have to be something that only is inside the envelope, 3-D mail can often be the container/envelope itself. So, Keith, when you went into your home shopping network thing a few moments ago, you talked about a little mini trashcan. Well, the little mini trashcan, we have all used it several times and some of us have used it where originally we actually put it inside a box, and more often now where we actually stick the label on the outside of the trashcan, put the postage on the outside of the trashcan and just tape the lid and stick that right into the mail and mail that thing right out.

Well, now when that comes into your pile of mail, and Keith you’ve heard me say this many times, because I usually say it when I teach Outrageous Advertising, that thing has to be on top of the pile now, because if its not, you can’t have a pile. So, that’s another thing that happens. Not only do you have the curiosity factor, but oftentimes because it has 3-D to it, it’s putting you right on top of that pile of mail. So, let’s, why don’t we address the elephant in the room, if we would, because as you guys know not only are you guys good Glazer-Kennedy students, but you are like the guy who says, I forgot the actual ad, “I like the shave so much that I got from the razor that I actually bought the company.” You guys enjoyed marketing so much you actually became Independent Business Advisors up there in the Seattle/Washington area. So, you guys have really sunk your teeth into this. So, what I am sure you hear a lot in your chapter meetings, and when you meet members at our national events, and you see if that people fall into category of either B to B or B to C, and so I would like you to sort of like address this, because I know a lot of the B to B people feel like this may or may not work in a B to B environment and then I hear a lot of B to C people think it doesn’t work in their environment. What have you found?

Keith: I’ll take that one Bill. Because when it comes to the B to B people, most of the time I hear people saying when it comes to 3-D mail, “Oh, its too quirky,” or “It’s not serious enough,” or whatever for B to B. Almost everybody I hear complains about it not being the right kind of mail for B to B. Well, I don’t have too much trouble with that one, Bill, because my main business, all we do is sell B to B. We don’t sell to individuals, we sell to retail stores, we sell to some of the bigger retail stores in the country and we grew our business on Dan Kennedy marketing. And again going back to the Magnetic Marketing in the 90’s, we had a 3-D mail letter in that 3-D mail campaign. So, when it comes to B to B, there’s, I point to myself. When it comes to B to C, for the most part people kind of see that, “Oh, when you’re home yeah you can be entertained, and you can be amused and that this kind of stuff will work at home.” I don’t see that as often and I think the people can understand that a little bit more, than, “Oh, I’m getting a smiley face clock,” “you’ll smile when you see how we unlock your IRA investments,” or whatever the case may be. You can see how that could work at home, but it also works in B to B.

And, it gets into the whole idea, Bill, that you guys talk about often, people are people and buyers are buyers. There’s never been and one of the things we say in our IBA out here is that, there’s never been a business ever anywhere that has bought anything, even if you go back to an automatic purchase order that gets created, that some individual had to make the decision to buy that thing. And, individuals are all, and again I’ve learned from you and Dan, they are all motivated by the same thing. We are all bored, we are all looking for something for entertainment in our life, and we all like to say, “Gosh, that’s pretty creative.”

I want to mention one thing that we talked about a little earlier too when it came to 3-D mail that having it lumpy, having something that gives it dimension actually gets their curiosity up. But, one thing I want to make sure we talk about is that we don’t want them to get their curiosity up with something like a crumpled up piece of paper that has nothing to do with the message that you are sending them. That, again coming from you and Dan, Bill, is the whole, “Oh, I’ve been had, I’ve been fooled.” Nobody likes to be had or fooled. So, that’s why it’s important to have the 3-D mail item and then tie it in to the copy in your headline and that thing. So, again, as you guys say, people still make decisions and they get interested in looking at something based on this emotion, probably more than even logic has to do with anything.

Bill: I’ll tell you that, give everybody a little glimpse into Glazer-Kennedy world. I do not get, I am not the first line of defense in terms of getting the mail. So, the mail comes to Glazer-Kennedy, actually we get it in these big bins everyday from whatever, from members, from vendors, from whatever. I mean it’s like we don’t get a pile of mail, we get piles and piles of mail. And, then somebody here goes through it and they sort it out and then my mail then goes to my assistant Sherry and she looks at it before I ever get to it to see if its even Bill worthy, if there is such a thing as that. But, one of the things everybody here knows at Glazer-Kennedy world is that whoever gets mail here if it has something that’s kind of unique where it kind of grabs your attention, “Get this to Bill so Bill can see this thing.” And, so, the reason why I say that is that’s how all of us all. It’s your point exactly Keith, is the fact that companies don’t buy stuff, people buy stuff. And, everyone of us, I don’t care how big or little the business is, when I was running my menswear stores I was the first line of attack with the mail, so I got the pile of mail. And, if there was something there that grabbed my attention then I was opening up that thing right away and the 3-D mail is the shortcut to doing that. So, if you are looking for that shortcut, it’s right there for you.

I wanted to talk a little bit more about this topic that Travis covered a few moments ago, and sort of talk about it a little differently is as far as we talked about why 3-D mail gets such good results, and we talked about the fact that first of all like everything else that we teach all the time is who cares why it gets great results just the fact that you know it works.  So like, yesterday I was doing consultation day with one of the guys in my Info Master Mind group, who is sort of my, he is one of our on line guys. And, he was saying he’s tested on a squeeze page, the color of the circle to put around the thing to put in and he’s found that one color outperformed another color. And, so, the point is, that we don’t care why, we just know from now on we always use that color. So, the fact that 3-D mail gets better results, who cares?

And, then the other thing we mentioned was the other advantage of 3-D mail is that it gets on top of the pile in most cases. So, let’s talk to you guys a little bit more about some of the other benefits to why people respond so well to the 3-D mail.

Part 2 Continued on Thursday


Bill Glazer is one of the most celebrated Marketing Gurus in the world. Bill and his "Outside The Box" Advertising Strategies have often been featured in the most prestigious Marketing Magazines in the world. Bill is the author of the best selling book, "Outrageous Advertising That's Outrageously Successful: Created for the 99% of Small Business Owners Who Are Dissatisfied with the Results They Get".

9 Responses

  1. Brian Horn says:

    Used this for the first time this year. Wish I had done it long ago.

  2. Keith and Lee are two fantastic guys who really know their stuff.

    People LOVE to get “lumpy mail”! Even if they don’t take me up on my offer, I get comments like “I love your stuff — it’s so much fun!”

    Do you think the companies who continue to waste their money on plain vanilla, boring junk mail develop those kinds of raving fans?

    Or put anywhere near as much money in the bank from their mailings?

    Which is, as Dan and Bill point out, what really matters.

  3. I have used the lost customer campaign with positive ROI. Have also tested the X-Ray mailer, and just recently had positive ROI on a 3 step campaign with a Compass, Message in a bottle and Trash Can combo. Now I am testing the Silver Platter.

  4. Jim Rowe says:

    I was mailed a fake rolex in the mail with some offer that i did not respond to but I do know who the company was and I also keep them in mind for products. One thing that I thought about was that they spent a decent amount of money to gain my business. I remember them and tell others about them because of this.

  5. Charles says:

    good point Steve.
    lumpy mail works

  6. This is a quality strategy that can eliminate the ‘gate keepers’ – particularly in the b2b arena. I have yet to test in the business to consumer sector, but I’m guessing it would have equally compelling results.

  7. These little things DO make a real difference.

    Dr. Cialdini’s amazing work on “Influence” also would argue that the fact that you gave them something makes the feeling of reciprocity.. which would also help the response rate. :)

  8. Brian:

    I, for one, would be interested in a blog post form you about your own success with lumpy mail…

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