A shout-out to marketers: have you jumped on the growing trend to develop parcel marketing programs that get products directly into the hands of consumers? No? Well, listen up - you’re missing out on a chance to increase results by 250%. You heard me right. According to the Online Marketing Institute, 3D dimensional mailings outperform traditional direct mail by 250%, but only increase the cost per lead by 50%.

    So what is parcel marketing? Anything that’s not a typical #10 envelope or flat counts. It doesn’t have to look like the care package your mom sent you at camp, but that’s not a bad picture - remember how fast you tore into that? This new trend basically delivers anticipation and excitement. The options are only limited by your imagination and include one-time gift with purchase, monthly subscription-based products, product sampling either upon request or blind sends, or anything your audience would be pumped to receive.

    If you’re thinking parcels are too expensive, think again. While not as cheap as traditional mailings, the open rate and revenue lift per campaign are typically stellar making for a rewarding ROI. Launching a monthly subscription service delivers an added revenue stream directly to the bottom line. Before pulling the trigger, consult with an experienced parcel marketing firm to control campaign cost. They can make packaging recommendations like size, weight, thickness, materials, and coating to keep cost low and guarantee your package won’t be rejected by USPS automation.

    Parcel Marketing Ideas Worth Trying

    Product Samples: A perennial favorite among consumers. What better way to get products into the hands of your audience without ever leaving their home? The big boys like Walmart and Target now have free sample programs and they sell out quick!

    Monthly Membership Programs: There are box memberships for everything from makeup to razors to pet supplies to gourmet food. The sky’s the limit! Be creative, even if you don’t have manufactured products to ship, partner within your industry to deliver a co-op product to suit the customer’s needs. The key is giving members the option to customize their preferences (which by the way is very valuable business intelligence that’s usually very difficult to collect). Let’s say I have a monthly tea membership I’ll be able to choose the preferred flavors, regions, and types of tea thereby making my membership very personal. Some of my favorites include BroBox (various men’s products), For The Makers (DIY craft kits), and Georgia Crafted (all things Georgia). Put your thinking caps on!

    Free Gift with Purchase: Who doesn’t love a free gift? It can be another product you offer or something related to your product/service. Another brilliant strategy, mail free samples of your other product with every order so customers can do a test-drive. Kiehl’s skin care has built their entire high-end business on this strategy and it totally works.

    Only Manage Part of the Campaign - Outsource the Rest: For printers out there who may be interested in supplying clients with say the box and stuffing, but not all parcel marketing services, it’s easy to outsource pieces to other vendors and still be the hero. A reputable parcel marketing firm can provide guidance on choosing the right vendors to partner with.

    John Kennedy is the CEO of Three Dog Logistics. TDL’s roots are in the direct mail logistics world, but several years ago, they started to apply their USPS knowledge to the parcel industry and in 2015 became one of a few certified IMpb label producers to support the USPS mandate. TDL provides services in support of marketing parcel programs, product sampling, bound printed matter, flat sorting , kitting and assembly, as well as their direct mail logistics services with commingling, LTL and FTL drop shipping, and EDDM processing.