Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The New Way To Do Direct Mail

Today's consumers may exhibit varying degrees of infolust for new products and services, but their interest doesn't often extend to direct mail. Enter Matter, which is taking an unconventional approach to direct marketing by sending out boxes of "interesting stuff" instead.

London-based Matter works with product manufacturers to compile collections of items carefully designed to please specific audiences, and it sends them out to consumers at no charge. Each participating company creates and contributes an item—something that explains what the company does, says something about its ideas or values, or can be tried out.

Matter then combines the items in a targeted fashion and sends them out so that they arrive on a Saturday—when consumers are more likely to spend some time with them. The pilot box, which just hit consumers' doorsteps on February 2nd, included items from Sony Ericsson, Stolichnaya, Nintendo, Nissan, Penguin and Virgin Atlantic, among others. Sony Ericsson's item, for example, was a small figurine of the Music Monster—a cultish figure intended to represent consumers' personal musical desires—packed in a straw-lined case complete with bite-marked brochure. Nissan's item was a set of "crayons" that are really soap—intended to send the message that the brand is not what consumers expect, according to the Matter blog. The next edition of Matter will be aimed at males aged 25-35 and is scheduled to ship out this summer.

Matter is a collaboration between Artomatic and Royal Mail, and it targets consumers in the UK only. One to experiment with in other parts of the world?

Authors@Google: Tim Harford

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