As a marketing firm who offers direct mail marketing as one of our services, DME has heard it all. A recurring fear of marketing professionals is investing valuable time and money into a direct mail campaign just to see it tank. And we aren’t talking lack of relevance or interest, we are talking mistakes. Some direct mail pieces that fail can feature spelling errors and some offensive campaigns that are the result of poor timing. We’ve compiled a list of some of the unfortunate stories from a company’s prospective as well as from the customers. Be prepared, these may make you cringe or be the fodder for your nightmares.

“Right after the cruise shipwrecked off the coast of Italy (while it was still being replayed all over the news!), I received an exclusive offer to ‘immerse’ myself in European culture on that cruise ship. The campaign was in conjunction with my travel credit card and I was a “lucky” few selected to take a trip on that ship. Um no thanks.”

“We sent out a mailing list without double checking the information. Seemingly, the sales reps had been nicknaming the customers in the information fields, so we sent out to Mr. Fred Annoying voice and Mrs. Gina “The witch.”

“I received an ‘exclusive’ offer from a local carpet cleaning company that featured name personalization in the body of the text. Unfortunately for them, they had grossly misspelled my name. Apparently, even though I was important enough to receive the offer, I was not important enough to do any research on.”

“We once accidentally sent out a direct mail piece that featured our fax line instead of our business line. Anyone who called just received the fax tone. Not a great first impression.”

“My name and information got caught up in a mail campaign for a men’s magazine featuring pictures of women. So, I started receiving free copies of said magazine and other direct mail. Apparently, it wasn’t a targeted list. I’m a woman and was not amused.”

“Our company once sent out a promotional mailer that featured the wrong date of a concert. It had the correct date itself but was listed as a Friday instead of Saturday. It added some confusion to the situation.”

All of these stories can be easily avoided by double and triple checking your mail pieces, emails, etc. before releasing them. Once a mistake is out there it is not easily erased and can make an impression on customers and prospects that is not easily erased.

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