I registered late for DMA09, the annual Direct Marketing Association conference that was here in San Diego this year. So when the approximately 380 exhibitors sent me an invite to visit their booth, I quickly drowned in a sea of postcards. One day alone I got 18 of them.
They were all clever and creative and colorful and personalized. They offered free gifts, the opportunity to enter drawings for very desirable prizes, introductory discounts — you name it. All the offers were good. But the packages and messages became a blur as they tried to compete with each other.
The few invitations I did read were not colorful, clever or creative. They were communications enclosed in businesslike envelopes, and I could count those on one hand.
As a small consulting and copywriting business I saw all of the mailers. But I wonder how many of them made it to the desk of registered attendees who work in large corporations. In those companies third-class mail is often discarded and not delivered to the addressee.
My lesson from this experience is that B2B marketers who want to promote their booth at a trade show or conference is this: no matter how spectacular the drawing or giveaway prize or discount, bag the postcard. Instead, send your booth invitation in an envelope or express-type mailer. That way you can be sure it will get delivered and stand out in a crowd.