The Year of Junk Mail

Marketing Efforts Must Improve in Order to Be Safe from the Trash Can


The recently passed CAN SPAM Act will force businesses to be
more creative in order to grab consumers’ attention. “2004 will be
the year of junk mail,” says Bill Glazer, marketing consultant and
president of

Between the recently passed “Do Not Call” laws
and the CAN SPAM Act, which went into effect Jan. 1, many companies are now
hesitant or forbidden to use telemarketing or e-mail marketing to win new
business. As a result, many are making increased use of traditional “junk
mail” advertising. “You’re going to get so much more junk
mail, you will need to buy a bigger trash can,” Glazer says. “And
to work, yours will have to be better junk mail than ever.”

Crowded mailboxes mean businesses will need to be much more
creative to ensure their mailings stand out from all the clutter. “It is
no longer enough to simply send out standard promotional flyers, letters and
brochures,” Glazer states. “Ninety-five percent of the mailings
most businesses send out do not work because they are just plain boring. You
have got to be willing to do fun and outrageous things to get a potential
customer’s attention. To make your junk mail work, you have got to make
it so engaging people don’t perceive it as junk.”

For example, Randy Hall owns The Bicycle Connection in
Cockeysville, Md. Following Glazer’s advice, Hall sent his 500 best
customers an invitation inside a water bottle announcing his store’s 30th
anniversary. “The store was packed literally from wall-to-wall that
day,” Hall says.

Bruce Schindler, the owner of Bob Davidson Ford in Baltimore
County, Md., also is using Glazer’s techniques. He sent a targeted letter
to 1,000 previous customers who had purchased Ford Explorers, in order to
prompt them to upgrade to the new model. His letter said, “Negotiate your
best deal. Then after you’re done, whip out this letter, stand on the
desk and scream at the top of your lungs ‘I’m a preferred customer,
I want my additional $2,000!’” That letter cost less than $800 to
send out, and he sold more than $250,000 worth of cars as a result. One
customer actually did get on the desk and start shouting.

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About the author advises more than 1,200 retail store owners how to attract new customers.