Why an authentic message can still get through. This letter came through my door last night – it ignores pretty much 95% of the advice that I would give to a marketing client thinking of creating a door to door mailer in terms of technique and approach, but guess what? I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! And I know from social media activity prompted by it and from talking to my neighbours who also got the letter, that they loved it too and it’s winning Tony sales already.

At first glance, it’s all very amateur. It’s poorly presented, and littered with bad grammar and spelling. It’s copied onto cheap paper, carelessly folded. It’s written in all caps (notoriously difficult to read/ bit shouty). There’s no headline, no strong call to action as such. You’d think there was very little to recommend it.

But precisely because of the presentation, a lot of people took the time to at least start reading it and many read right to the end. Because, it looks like a letter or note from someone you know. And when you actually read the letter and it’s heartfelt message and request for business, and read the reasons why Tony is struggling, it’s a hard hearted person who wouldn’t feel some empathy with him and there is something about the simplicity and authenticity of the message and it’s respectful, honest tone that makes you want to help. After, we all love the underdog don’t we?

When this letter was photographed and put on a local Facebook page for the villages where we live, it immediately sparked off debate about the price of milk in supermarkets, the state of the dairy industry, the need to help smaller businesses and yes, how people wanted to, planned to, or already had got in touch with Tony. Some of his existing clients chipped in with endorsements of how nice he was, how he was really reliable and that his milk (and orange juice!) taste great.

In short: the mailer TOTALLY did it’s job.

Yes I run a marketing and branding company, and I work with companies on a range of marketing materials to help them promote their products and services (brochures, websites and the like) and I do of course think that for the vast majority of companies, brand, presentation and the right marketing channels are incredibly important.

But something tells me, in this case, for this particular little business, if this message had been delivered via a snazzy leaflet, complete with glossy images and with more polished, professional language, extolling the virtues of milk and the convenience of home delivery, it wouldn’t have got the interest and return that this one seems to be generating.

So there’s the lesson. An authentic message, however it is delivered, can win through. And when you deliver that message in an unexpected way, however low tech, people sometimes pay more attention!

Good on you Tony, and good luck!

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