14th Jan 2007, by Andrew Barr

Marketing To Attract Large Companies - Traditional Sales Letter or Something Quirky

I have been talking to a few copywriters recently about the best format for a sales or direct mail letter that is to be used when trying to win larger more corporate clients.

This all revolves around the fact that I personally am not convinced that when you are targetting a department of a large company the traditional sales letter techniqies still work. By traditional sales technique I mean:

- Starting with a question so the reader reads on, e.g. "Want to save money on your next telecom bill?" Everyone does so they automatically read on.
- Putting in some form of "reply by X Feb 07 and you get a 10% discount"

You get the drift, we have all recieved them...

I personally believe that if you want to stand out you have to enclose something that stands out (no, not a pen!), or make the copy really different.

I have been "in-house" at numerous large companies and I always remember those companies that stood out, far more than those who sent me the more traditional sales letter. Now, in my head I am trying to work out if that is because I am a creative person who appreciates the more creative stuff, or if I am in fact normal and this is what everyone thinks?

I remember once receiving a sick bag from a company that had a strap saying something like, "hand this to your previous supplier, they will be sick when they see our prices"... and this worked very well... we got them in to pitch.

Something like this:

Good idea for DM that stands out

I think the only companies that react to traditional sales type letters are SME's and one man bands because they hear so often that this type of letter works so they become suspicious of things that deviate away from the norm.

I am not saying copywriters are getting it wrong, I am just wondering what other people think about this?

I would encourage everyone to try different angles for their marketing and not be tied to just doing what traditional marketeers say is best for you. Obviously, don't potentially waste your entire marketing budget on something untried, but maybe run some small and very controlled trials?

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