Being creative doesn’t always mean creating flashy material. Take credit card sales for example. Mostly driven by direct mail promotions, the mailers that tend to work the best are the ones that are plain, have a grey color scheme, and consist of the most basic copy. If you gave this as a project to most college marketing students, myself included, the common thought would be to add a design to the outside of the envelope to entice customers to open the mailer. But what truly resonates with customers sifting through their mail is something simple on the outside and a clear and colorful explanation on the inside.
This example proves once again the importance of consumer insights in creating great marketing campaigns. Jim Jatcko, currently the Vice President of Business Development for Falk Harrison, explained how he discovered these insights back when he was working with Wachovia. They created multiple designs, ranging from the most colorful and in-your-face content, to the mundane and most basic mailers. They found that the bulk of their sales were from the plain mailers, and that customers were more likely to open the envelope if the outside was not covered in over-the-top design features. When you think about it, the selling point was never the outside of the envelope, instead the outside was meant to be a catalyst to open and read through the content on the inside, where the real pitch would be presented.