Weekly Insights: You’ve Got Mail!


Graphic: Digital Juice

On this date in 1792, President George Washington signed legislation creating the U.S. Postal Service. And while you may be rolling your eyes and thinking, “So what? That’s old school” compared to all the digital technologies of today, there’s still a lot of potential there for both exhibitors and show organizers.

For example, how many e-mails did you get this week? How many text messages … LinkedIn messages … Facebook messages … it goes on and on, right?

Now how many pieces of postal mail did you get (other than bills)? I got a delayed valentine and a couple of magazines, and I bet you can name off the items you got too.

So why is that good news for trade show marketers? You’ve got a much greater chance of standing out with a physical piece of mail in their mailbox. For example, with EXHIBITOR Live just over a week away, I’ve received numerous e-mails from exhibitors but not one piece of physical mail so far. (At this point, if anyone does send me one, I may have to go to their booth just to thank them for being unique!)

In addition to standing out from the crowd, there are a number of other benefits:

  • Postal mail appeals to not only visual learners, but also tactile learners. By carefully choosing the paper weight and texture, you can enhance your recipient’s experience with your marketing.
  • It can easily be personalized. And no, we’re not talking “Dear Sue” on a letter! Using Variable Data Printing, you can customize virtually any of the text. For example, I recently received a full-color brochure from the dealer where I bought my car reminding me it was time for service. On the front, it said “Only trust your Nissan Murano to the experts at” and included the dealer name. Now that wouldn’t seem so much like personalizing, except for the fact that we bought our used Nissan at a Ford dealership! So obviously this mailer was customized just for us.
  • It’s no longer mere text on a page, either. Today’s mail can incorporate other media, including video (yes, there are mailable video players) and augmented reality, which are 3D enhancements using codes embedded in the print material. For a great example of this, check out this video on how the IKEA catalog works.

There are other benefits of using direct mail (AKA postal mail) in your trade show marketing. I’m currently working on an article for a trade magazine that will give even more examples and will post a link to that here after it’s published.

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With experiences as both an exhibitor and a show organizer, Marlys Arnold has a unique perspective on trade show exhibiting. As an exhibit marketing strategist, she travels the country consulting and training on how to create experiential exhibits that produce significantly higher numbers of qualified leads. She’s led workshops for events ranging from local consumer expos to some of the largest trade shows in the U.S. She hosts the Trade Show Insights blog/podcast, and is the author of Build a Better Trade Show Image, the Exhibitor Education Manifesto, and the ExhibitorEd Success System. Exhibit Design That Works (the first book in the YES: Your Exhibit Success series) debuted in July 2017. She’s also the founder of the Exhibit Marketers Café, an online education community.

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