What My Junk Mail Can Teach You About Marketing

Direct Marketing


                           What My Junk Mail Can Teach You About Marketing

As a marketer, I am absolutely obsessed with how businesses market themselves - I observe and dissect the smallest details to see what works and what doesn't. Scott Stratten from UnMarketing had it right when he said that 'Marketing is everything you do and don't do.' I have an absolute fascination with how people do business and whether or not they have hitting the mark or not.

One thing I do every week - which is now a bit of a professional hobby is reviewing my junk mail. As a digital era kid who is used to online conversations and personalised messages - junk mail fascinates me.

Let me start this by saying that my letter box says ‘No Junk Mail’ – so what is interesting about this is that many of the local businesses in my area have missed a crucial point of marketing nowadays – avoid (unsolicited) interruption at all costs.

I think that some of the old methods of marketing such as cold calling, door knocking and letter box drops have all evolved nowadays and can be reinforced with the collection of warm leads through online relationships – which entails pre-qualifying your prospects, researching their interests and then attempting a relationship for a mutually beneficial arrangement. I am not saying – cull those methods entirely but at least refine them to fit them in with how people do business nowadays and how people are used to be sold to.

The first culprit that comes to mind – the real estate industry. I live in a new house and although I am interested in property investment, being bombarded with flyers printed on an inkjet printer won’t help any agency get my business – talk about selling me the dream of a new house. A very large franchise recently had their local branch drop a flyer in my letter box with written on it ‘Looking for standout service this winter?’ – First of all we always look for stand out service regardless of the season and further to that – winter is nearly over. Bad marketing timing – if I was looking for good service this winter I would have started 2 months ago.

I had a chat to a real estate salesman who told me that for every 500 flyers they drop off – they might get one phone call. Cost wise – that’s roughly between $200.00 - $600.00 depending on the quality of the design and paper for one lead. Why still do it? Because people do what they know and are set in their ways.

Another one I received this week is the ‘Handy guide to services’ – it took me a few minutes to understand that meant ‘council services’ and when I read it – I was surprised by how this little handy book had no link with the local community whatsoever and how my local MP had written his message to us in the 3rd person. Not even a slight hint to contact the council if you would like to make suggestions to improve the local community. Ask me his name now and I couldn’t remember.

So what are the crucial things you can take away from my junk mail?

1) Brand yourself correctly whatever the season.

2) Stop interrupting and start engaging.

3) Invest in your branding and give your sales team something to be proud of when they go in front of a prospect.

4) Build emotional links with whoever you are marketing to.

5) Calculate how much money you are investing in one particular marketing effort and see whether it is past its ‘use by’ date.

6) Use technology to pre-qualify and start building relationships.

7) Sell the dream and reflect what you are selling.

8) Don’t isolate your audience.

9) Be clear and concise in your message.

10) You aren’t selling to yourself so forget ‘me’ and focus on ‘you’.

So there you go.. tips and tricks straight from my letter box (pun intended).  If you think I could assist you with a marketing question – post away (below) and no.. not in my letterbox.  



Sharon Latour

Queen Bee/CMO at

I hail from Mauritius, an idyllic island off the coast of Africa and moved Down Under as an international student. Being in a corporate job wasn't for me so I took my own path with $450 in the bank. I've always been passionate about SMEs and after seeing so many struggle digitally, I founded Marketing Bee. We are Australia's first cloud-based marketing department, providing digital production, social media strategy, web development and everything in between for our clients here and overseas.