My Best Promotion

My Best Promotion

Direct mail. The focus of so many “My Best Promotion” columns. October adds one more, with Derek Miller, principal of ProPrinters, sharing a great promotion he did for a local bank that yielded exceptional results. Designed to get nearby small businesses to seek lending and other services with the bank, the mailer succeeded in getting 150 of the 250 contacted to make appointments with the bank’s sales force.

Through studied use of direct mail and understanding the value of personalization, Miller was able to succeed above and beyond the expectations of himself and his client. Read to see what exactly Miller mailed, how he wrapped it so perfectly, and how he got people interested in something as tightly competitive and over-marketed as business-banking.

Promo Marketing: Could you briefly describe the promotion you consider one of your best?

Derek Miller: I have a customer, a bank in Cape May county, New Jersey, that was looking to target businesses in its space for business banking and lending. We came up with a custom-printed box mailer. Inside the box went a custom pail and a lid from HumphreyLineOpens in a new window, a one-pound bag of local saltwater taffy and a totally customized postcard. The post card was personalized, so it would say “Dear Joe Smith” on it and not just “dear generic customer.” And at the bottom, where the digitized signature was, was the person’s name from the bank who was going to be calling them. So, Joe Smith got this package, and it was signed by Lana, so Lana is the person that was going to be calling Joe Smith.

We assembled the box, put the pail in, the taffy in, the lid on top, then this personalized postcard. They were all packaged in shrink-wrap and mailed. We mailed 250, they got appointments with 150 of them. It was tremendous. The whole thing only cost them like 30 bucks a unit.

PM: What made this promotion so effective?

DM: We had a nice hook that when we sent the package out. It wasn’t branded with their logo, it just said, “a sweet introduction inside” printed in blue (hence the taffy). I think that if someone had gotten the box and it said “Cape Bank” on it, they’re not necessarily going to open it. I think that’s important. I don’t want [the packages] to say who it’s from, because I don’t want them to prejudge it. 

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PM: Any advice you could give to others attempting similar promotions?

DM: If you’re going to do any kind of dimensional mail, I strongly suggest to not put the name of the business on the mailer unless your brand is strong enough. If you’re Xerox or Verizon or someone like that, you’re going to get opened up, but otherwise you really need to make the judgment of “Is you’re brand strong enough to get someone to open a box?”

I also think it’s important to take a look what you’re putting in the package, and then build the package around the item. It’s better presentation. I fit mine nice and snug so it wouldn’t move around and I wouldn’t need to build a foam insert or a tray to put it in.

Also, If your customers are not going to call and follow up on the mailers, don’t spend the money, because it won’t work. 

Want to be considered for a future edition of My Best Promotion? Contact Michael Cornnell at or (215) 238-5449 for a list of questions and other details.


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