By Mike Maguire

The average executive can receive hundreds of pieces of mail per week. In volume like that, a dimensional package helps your mail stand out. When you decide to go dimensional, keep these nine tips in mind. 

1. Think it through. An effective direct marketing campaign is a combination of smart strategy, good objectives, innovative creative, a great offer, solid data and an effective delivery format. If the format works well, you are positioned to hit a home run.

2. Determine your purpose. Certain market segments have been particularly successful in utilizing dimensional mail, including automotive, fundraising, financial and pharmaceutical. The most common application is for new-product launches and hard-to-reach targets. Dimensional materials get passed around and create the excitement necessary to get all parts of the marketing channel moving.

3. Check your data. This is probably the most critical aspect of any dimensional marketing program. Spend the time and money here. If you can’t be confident in your data, don’t do a dimensional program. 

4. Think ROI. Carefully set ROI goals create the means for tracking the campaign’s effectiveness early on. Evaluate and compare the value of the relationship you are seeking with the lift in response rate you hope to gain and the incremental cost of a dimensional package. Run the numbers and make sure they work. 

5. Consider the costs. A dimensional piece costs more to creat than a flat piece, but few spend enough time evaluating postage, one of the biggest cost factors. Maximize postal efficiency from the very beginning of the design process. 

6. Test the package. There’s no substitute for a test mailing to make sure your piece will survive the rigors of the postal stream. Test with the actual paper stock and you’ll be using and the actual premium enclosed. And be sure to test it against a control. Yes, it is more expensive and time consuming to test a dimensional package, but it’s usually worth it. 

7. Consider the recipient. Protect your graphics, messaging and the overall appearance of the package by shrink-wrapping or using a protective sleeve. Also, be mindful of the finish. Shiny finishes like glossy UVs are beautiful and protective, but they also are fingerprint magnets. 

8. Make sure it’s worth it. The item or offer you are delivering must be special enough to meet or exceed the expectations created by the package. If not, your target will be disappointed, and then so will you. 

9. Integrate. The days of mailing a dimensional piece solo and hoping for the best are over. Marketers can leverage the effectiveness of dimensional packaging by integrating any or all of the direct marketing tools available to them – email, Websites, traditional direct mail, phone follow-up, sales call follow-up, or multiple wave mailings. Integrate and succeed!

— Mike Maguire is CEO of Structural Graphics, a designer and producer of high-impact dimensional marketing solutions.