From 3-D to Pop-ups: Go Dimensional

A well-delivered direct mail campaign, with all the bells and whistles, can build a beautiful friendship
Nov 01, 2007

Mike Maguire
In this age of new media, social networking, blogs, and cyber-clutter, it's easy to forget the appeal of the real—of things that you can hold in your hand and engage with physically. But make no mistake, despite all of the high-tech tools available to us, advertising still relies on evoking an emotional response by tickling the human senses.

For years now, one excellent way to deliver the tickle has been with "dimensional mail"—the kind of mail piece that cuts through the clutter by arriving in a tube or box full of surprises: premiums, lights, sound, pop-ups, lenticulars (those wiggly, almost 3-D pictures), interactive games, moveable charts, wheels, and the like. Dimensional mail has been around for years, but there are always new options to keep the approach fresh. With the right strategy and follow-through, dimensional mail can be a great way to boost ROI and build your brand.

Attention, Please!

Dimensional marketing tools, such as this mailer for Xifaxan (it arrives flat, but pops up into a tissue box), offer an eye-catching, creative, and appealing way to display clinical information
The largest and most successful use of high-impact dimensional mail is for new-product introductions and highly targeted marketing efforts. These include new launches, new indications, updated dosage regimens, rebranding efforts, or brand extensions—instances when important new information is being offered and a change in thinking or behavior is required. In these instances, when getting heard is mission critical, a dimensional piece can serve as the opening salvo for an ongoing, integrated communication program.

However, with the downsizing of sales forces, dimensional pieces are also being utilized as "nonpersonal" promotion vehicles. They become a low-cost alternative to an "in person" detail call. For example, in a five-wave dimensional direct mail campaign developed by D&R Communications, Salix Pharmaceuticals utilized a number of creative techniques to drive home key messaging for its GI antibiotic, Xifaxan (rifaximin). The campaign introduced the product to physicians and touted the benefits of Xifaxan's nonsystemic treatment of diarrheal diseases.

Top-Five Tips for Planning an Effective Dimensional Campaign
The tag line, Works in the gut and only the gut, emphasizes the drug's targeted, nonsystemic therapy. Each piece in the campaign drove home the benefits of Xifaxan through the graphic image of a dart and a bull's-eye that is executed in a number of interactive ways. For instance, in one piece, when the physician pulled a tab, a paper dart slid down the page to a direct hit on the target. One mailer featured an offer for a free roll-up dartboard with darts. Three of the five waves included lifestyle images and case studies featuring patient targets for the drug: the traveling salesperson, the active retiree, and the working mom. Pieces also included short quizzes to invite physician interaction.

The Xifaxan campaign hits a number of key leverage points available to marketers who need to break through in a crowded marketplace, including:

  • multiple waves with consistent imaging and messaging
  • flat and dimensional mailers, all with interactive features
  • multiple offers for premiums (some included in the box mailers)
  • sales force follow-up
  • offers for free samples to encourage trial
  • multiple options for the physician to respond, become educated, and interact with the drug's benefits.

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