From 3-D to Pop-ups: Go Dimensional - Pharmaceutical Executive

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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


Pharmaceutical Executive


Dimensional and interactive pieces can also be utilized as a targeted "special operations" tool to accomplish a specific objective. For example, in the cholesterol category, the team for Merck/Schering-Plough's Vytorin (ezetimibe and simvastatin) used a medical education premium offer wrapped in an interactive mailer to drive traffic to the Vytorin booth at the American Heart Association conference in Chicago. When the recipient pulled a tab at the bottom of the piece, a "secret panel" popped out of the top, revealing the offer.

In another example, an Alzheimer's drug campaign targeted at general practitioners and neurologists employed a multi-wave, high-impact direct mail campaign that invited physicians to an interactive online experience. The direct mail formats included box mailers (some with premiums) and a pop-up mailer. The campaign, which leveraged the fact that physicians appear to be receptive to tactile mail pieces during the day but prefer to go online at night, achieved better than double-digit increases in new prescriptions.

Look at Me

The communication process cannot happen unless the target of the advertising goes through three distinct stages:

Attention is exactly what it sounds like: "Hey, look at me! Pick me up. I'm different from the rest of the mail in the stack." Dimensional mail is great at grabbing attention by simply looking, feeling, and, yes, even smelling different than typical flat mail. Thickness, size, shape, graphics, textures, copy, and a familiar brand can all help the package scream, "Open me!" Recently, a client produced a piece shaped like a pair of fuzzy dice, complete with a soft cover made of real, bright-purple plush. Textured varnishes that look like leather, see-through boxes that tease the contents, boldly personalized content, and special effects, such as holographic films, all help stop the client cold.

Increasingly, scent is being utilized to grab attention for new-flavor introductions, to communicate mood, or to transport the prospect to the fresh scent of a spring day. A recent study published in Packaging Digest showed that of the five senses, scent was second only to sight in its importance in the buying decision. Further, the study revealed that when consumers can recall more than one sensory impression conveyed by a product, brand loyalty is around 60 percent.

Interaction is the next step. Once the door has been kicked open and you have a target's attention, you must generate interaction ("Who is it from?" "How does it work?" "I get a free...what?"). If interaction is achieved, then a connection is born. Dimensional pieces invite interaction through unfolding, touching, investigating, inviting a response to key messaging, and prompting the recipient to wonder, "How did they do that?" Lights, sound, puzzles, games, and clever charts that lead the recipient through complex information in a fun and interesting way also achieve interaction—but it can't stop here.

Involvement happens when you cross the bridge from flirtation to connection. This is when the recipient is ready to seek out additional information. Credibility is building. A dialog is beginning. Here is where combining high-impact traditional tools, Web-based tools, and sales force follow-up can work beautifully together.

Although there are many creative ways to execute a dimensional marketing program, it is critical that your campaigns always include concise messaging, a compelling call to action, multiple ways to respond, and, when included, premiums that are meaningful and worth keeping. Finally, always think multiple touches via multiple channels, and remember to be there when your target wants to interact—24/7. Attention. Interaction. Involvement. Even with all of the new technology options available to marketers, these three elements remain the key to a successful advertising effort. While it is challenging to find the right combination of traditional and nontraditional tools to grab and delight your target, there are rich rewards for marketers who do. Tickling more than one of your target's senses can be the start of a long and beautiful relationship.

Mike Maguire is CEO of Structural Graphics. He can be reached at


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