Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

August 12 2013

The Thing Meeting Marketers Should Be Doing

By Carolyn Clark

The bank accounts of the US Postal Service may be empty, but your attendees still want their mailboxes to be full. JWT Intelligence conducted a new survey of more than 1,200 respondents from the US and the UK, and the results clearly show that physical mail is far from dead.

“Physical mail represents the antithesis of digital,” the report states. “The sender has to be more deliberate and the recipient more considerate, while the volume is more manageable.”

SEE ALSO: Why Your Meeting Marketing Strategy Shouldn’t Go Paperless

In the research, respondents showed an overwhelming preference to physical mail over digital correspondence. Eighty-five percent indicated that receiving a handwritten card is more meaningful than an e-card, email of text even if the message is identical.

Now, I know that many marketers will scoff at this statistic. What organization has time to create a marketing campaign with handwritten notes?

Well, it turns out that some of the biggest companies are taking the power of paying for postage to a new level. Look at Kansas-based mobile provider Sprint. Two years ago, the company began implementing “Thank You Thursdays” and asked all employees to handwrite at least five notes of customer appreciation. Consider the eHarmony Australia office’s integration of social and physical: for Valentine’s Day 2012, anyone who liked the brand’s Facebook page received a handwritten love letter.

SEE ALSO: Time for a Status Update - Your Meeting Marketing Strategy

“Why is a 40-cent postcard so powerful?” MP Mueller, a blogger for The New York Times, asked in a column last year. “As technology races forward, people are increasingly starved for those high-touch extras like homemade meals and personalized notes. Small businesses often operate at a disadvantage, but we certainly have the opportunity to establish the perception that we are more personable than our larger competitors.”

That personalization element is a key takeaway for the meetings industry. Think about it: you’re asking people to pay registration fees and travel expenses to spend three or four days with you and your group. Might feeling like a real person rather than an email address help inspire a stronger sense of loyalty?

As budgets have tightened, plenty of marketing professionals have embraced a shift to paperless. However, that shift has paved the way to overloaded inboxes and ignored email messages. (Marketers should get ready to be ignored even more than they’re used to in the future, too. With Gmail’s new “promotions” folder, I don’t know if I’ve read a marketing email in the past two weeks. My account filters all of them out automatically.)

Investing in authentic, high-touch direct mail means more money, more resources and more time, but it also may mean one very important result: more attendees.

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