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Mailbox Monday


At B Direct, we've been direct marketers for quite a while (quite a while, if we're honest, before being a digital marketer was even an option). And, those of us who grew up creating direct mail campaigns will always defend that least glamorous of all marketing tactics: the letter.

These days, however, the human attention span (which, let's face it, was never infinitely long to begin with — just ask Henry VIII and any of his six wives) is more mercurial than ever. It's estimated today at 8.25 seconds. That's .75 seconds less than your average goldfish. Does anyone bother to read anymore? And, if they do bother to read, will they choose to put that archaic task to work on your direct mail letter?

The second hurdle facing those of us who still conceive and write and implement and mail letters is that most letters arrive in most mailboxes in simple #10 envelopes. Not exactly the sexiest package.

Well, a business credit card solicitation we've just received from CapitalOne attempts to address these two obstacles.

The outer envelope includes teaser copy that's fairly typical for the category:

Maximize your rewards with one card.
2% unlimited cash back ...
$200 cash back bonus
Exclusive Offer — Earn up to a $1,200 one-time cash bonus

The back of the envelope repeats these offers with the added message that "We automatically adapt your spending power based on your needs."

What makes all of this messaging stand out is that, while the offer may feel familiar, it's outsized in its presentation. The envelope is 8.25 x 10.75". It was far and away the largest piece in a fairly full mailbox.

Inside, we found a letter with a personalized Johnson box, a scannable sidebar, and bulleted copy. The back of the letter includes a list of card rewards and features, FAQs, and "Things You Should Know ..." A second insert provides a sell sheet with icons and an area reserved for the personalized offer and step-by-step directions for applying.

While the envelope certainly stands out, the letter could work just a bit harder. As mentioned, the J-box is personalized, as is the response copy in the sidebar. However, the letter lacks a salutation, a signature, or even a date. These simple additions would make it look and feel more like a "letter." It also limits itself to the facts. A bit of storytelling or setting up a problem and solution would be more engaging. (Hate to say it, but a Gen AI tool could have written the copy — and, who knows, maybe one did.)

Nevertheless, we appreciate the team at CapitalOne thinking out of the box — or at least, out of the #10 envelope. Job one for any direct mail is to get noticed. Mission accomplished here.

The Bs at B Direct give the package a thumbs-up.

Maybe next time the letter itself can be expanded too.


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Mailbox Monday

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