For real marketing impact, go offline and old school

We are all digital marketers, and we perceive the older generation of marketers as old, outdated dinosaurs. marketing

The traditional marketing conventions; a physical booth at a  tradeshow, printed brochure, mail (that’s right, as in actual mail, not email)  seem to have passed from this world.

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But sometimes, it makes sense to go back to the roots, go offline and old school. Not for ordinary marketing activities, the ones we carry out for our customers.  No, I reserve this high value, high impact, resource- heavy approach to marketing the one thing I care about the most- myself. So several months ago, just before the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana (Jewish new years’) I’ve done something I haven’t done in a decade. I sat down and wrote a letter. It wasn’t a lengthy piece, nor an informative one. It was more of a greeting card/ thank you note combo. I bought 10 greeting cards and envelopes and wrote a thank you / happy New year note to all my clients.

I included ones I’ve stopped working with a while ago and ones I was talking to on a daily basis. I wrote that I wanted to thank them for trusting me with managing their marketing activities (even if it was brief, and ended long ago).

The process was harder than I thought. First, I had to write down the text a word document (just to make sure I don’t miss anything and don’t make any gross spelling mistakes). 

Then copy this to the paper, seal the envelope, glue a stamp, walk to the nearby mailbox (which was hard to find) and mail these. 

The actual act of writing a note, word for word, took me forever. My handwriting was never a pretty sight and it has deteriorated over the years to this ugly mess. Still, I wanted people to be able to decipher what I wrote so put great effort into writing. I delivered half of these envelopes myself. 

I didn’t trust the mail service to deliver these on time, and I also wanted to see the expression on people’s faces when I showed up at their doorstep and handed them a hand written note.

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That proved to be amusing and rewarding indeed– most people were surprised , even baffled when I handed them the envelope, but when they opened it and read they lit up, smiled and thanked me.

I think it’s the combination of the effort, attention and the physical object that laid in their hands which made all the difference. I have never received a response so warm to an email, I can tell you that.

So if you haven’t done so yet, grab a pen and a piece of paper, some decorated card and a nice looking envelope and start writing. 

It’ll feel awkward at first but after the first letter it will get easier. The effort shouldn’t “cost” you more than 2 hours, but the benefits you can reap will be huge:

1.      Positioning

You will forever be remembered as the guy who cared enough to write a note. If that’s not a great positioning for a marketer I don’t know what is.

2.      Care

You showed (in actions, not words) that you care about your clientele.

3.      Rekindle older leads

You can actually use this activity to touch base with old leads. Who knows? they might be so impressed by the effort they will hire you again.

4.   Creativity and confidence

Everyone is trying to be cool, innovative and novel. But going old-school proves you have guts and creativity. It’s so easy just to send a mass email with some stock image, but you are going to do more.

Try it this holiday season. Even if the card arrives after the holidays it will still delight and impress your clients. After all – isn’t this what marketing is supposed to do?

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