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The ‘Shock and Awe’ Package in Marketing

“Lumpy mail” is a way of taking the powerful postal mail media channel and putting it on steroids. Think about your postal mail sorting habits. You have a pile of envelopes, then you notice one of the envelopes has something in it that makes it lumpy. There’s a 3D physical object in It, perhaps a book, DVD or trinket of some sort. Which of your envelopes is going to get opened first and get the most attention? If you’re like most people, it will be the lumpy one.

Lumpy mail is an attention-getter and allows you to be very creative with your direct mail campaigns. In the direct mail industry, trinkets purposely inserted for attracting attention are called “grabbers.” Grabbers often set the theme of your sales letter. For example, you might insert a small plastic trash can into the envelope with the theme of the sales letter being “Stop Wasting Money,” Or perhaps you insert a magnet with the theme being “Attract More Clients” sounds corny and it probably is, but it gets attention, entertains and more importantly, if done right, gets great results.

Books, CDs and DVDS are other excellent items you can insert in envelopes to make them lumpy. Other than just attracting attention once off when being opened, these items generally don’t get thrown away. Your customers and prospects will likely keep what you sent them indefinitely and it will be a constant reminder of you.

Taking lumpy mail to the next level is the “shock and awe package.” The shock and awe package is perhaps one of the most powerful direct response marketing follow-up tools in existence. When done right, it can skyrocket conversions and position you far above your competitors. It’s so powerful, it essentially annihilates your competitors and puts you in a class of your own. The awesome thing about shock and awe packages is that even when your competitors find out what you’re doing, they usually won’t dare copy you. Practically no one does this.

Now think back to the last time you inquired about a product of service. Perhaps you phoned in, emailed or submitted your inquiry through a web page. You did the typical prospect dance of “send me more information.” What did you get in response to this request? Likely, the organization you were inquiring with did one of the following things:

1. Sent you a link to a web page

2. Sent you an email (perhaps accompanied by some attachments)

3. Spoke with you over the phone and answered your questions

They may have done all or some of the above. See what’s happening? They’re responding to your inquiry in the cheapest and most efficient manner. There’s nothing wrong with cheap and efficient but no one is going to be entertained, delighted or inspired by it. No one’s going to stop and say, “Wow they sent me a PDF file with all the specifications. How awesome!”

In your first few interactions with prospects, you have the opportunity to make one of the following three impressions:

1. same same

2. crappy

3. mind-blowingly amazing

Most business owners choose option 1 — a surprisingly large number choose option 2 -and almost no one chooses option 3. Your job is to devise a way to be option 3. Fortunately, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. A “shock and awe package” is one of the best ways to be mind-blowingly amazing.

A shock and awe package is essentially a physical box that you mail or deliver to prospects full of unique, benefit-laden assets related to your business and industry. Here are some of the things you can and should include in a shock and awe package:

1.Books: people are conditioned to almost never throw books out. Big bonus points if it’s a book you wrote. Books are an amazing positioning tool and catapult you from salesperson to educator and expert authority instantly.

2.DVDs or CDs introducing yourself and the specific problems your product, service or business solves for your prospect.

3.Testimonials from past clients in video, audio or written form.

4.Clippings from media mentions or features about you, your product or your industry

5.Brochures, sales letters or other marketing material

6.Independent reports or white papers proving your point or demonstrating the value of your type of product or service.

7.A sample of your products or services. Coupons or gift cards with a face value on them can be powerful, as it feels like “wasting money” just to throw these out. They also motivate the prospect to try you out.

8.Unusual trinkets and gifts that entertain, inform and wow. I’ve heard of everything from personalized coffee mugs to iPads being included.

9.Handwritten notes thanking them for inquiring or recapping a conversation you’ve had with them over the phone.

Whaaaat? I hear you say. Snail mail in this instant-access, on — demand “information age?” The answer is, YES! Trust me, no one loves technology more than I do. I’m a sucker for the latest “iAnything” and I’m constantly glued to one of many screens. However, like most people, I love receiving packages-even more so when they’re unexpected.

While people’s snail mail used to be much more voluminous, it’s now easier than ever to get cut through with physical mail and especially packages. If something in a FedEx box lands on your desk, how long is it before you rip it open? If you’re like most people, I suspect it’s not very long.

I’m certainly not saying you shouldn’t send immediate responses to information inquiries using the phone, email or web, but understand that the first few interactions with a prospect are sacred and should be carefully orchestrated. Nothing should be left to chance. A shock and awe package is an amazing tool for delivering that “wow” emotion to your prospect.

A shock and awe package should do three things:

* Give your prospect amazing, unexpected value

* Position you as an expert and trusted authority in your field

* Move your prospect further down the buying cycle than they would otherwise have been

How much more powerful is this than the standard, “Sure, I’ll shoot you an email with more information.”

A common objection to shock and awe packages is that they’re too expensive. In the previous chapter, we discussed that, all other things being equal, the more money you can spend marketing to high-probability prospects, the better your chances are of converting them to a customer. That’s what the shock and awe pack is all about. If you can outspend your competitor wooing and wowing prospects, you’ll run rings around them. Of course you must know your numbers, particularly numbers like customer lifetime value, otherwise you will go negative. You can’t substitute good marketing for bad math.

The numbers obviously have to make sense. Unless you’re in an extremely low margin, purely transactional business (something I really don’t recommend you be in), then the numbers should work and sending the shock and awe package should be very economical. Don’t make the mistake of being cheap and efficient when it comes to wooing prospects. Shock and awe packages are a huge competitive advantage. Most competitors won’t understand them, and even those who do usually won’t have the courage to use them because, if they’re like most businesses, they won’t know their numbers. They will likely perceive them as being too expensive; after all, there are cheaper and more efficient ways to acquire customers.

Let your competitors do cheap and efficient marketing while yours entertains, delights, inspires and wows. It will put you worlds apart.

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Adil Zafar

Adil Zafar

A marketing consultant trying to write on subjects ranging from persona; finance to child psychology. As founder of Marketing Realm, I help businesses grow.

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