The Hot New Medium: Postcards

Forget e-mail. Forget the Web. It’s time to try a medium that Montgomery Ward used in 1904 to drive catalog requests.


That’s right. Postcards prove responsive for a variety of marketing missions and they are less expensive than catalogs and vastly simpler to create.

What are they good for? Here’s some examples:

*Mailing sale offers to your buyers.

*Where your audience is 1,000, 5,000 or 10,000 customers and below the threshold where a catalog can be printed.

*Where you have news or an announcement to your customers that needs to get to them immediately.

*Announcing hot new products.

*Driving retail traffic.

*All kinds of communication with your very best buyers.

*Promoting events like the holidays or Mother’s Day.

*As bounce backs inside your outgoing packages.

*Mailing to your web buyers whose attention spans can be short.

How do postcards compare in cost to catalogs? A 48 page to 64 page catalog can cost $.65 to $.90 in the mail. Postcards can range in cost depending on size and postage.

Why not just send an e-mail? Because a large portion of your buyers either haven’t given you their e-mail address or simply do open their e-mails. A good e-mail may get opened by 15% of your customers. But almost everyone looks at a postcard that comes in the mail.

There is a big gap in the arsenal of marketing communications between the immediacy of e-mails and the long lead times of catalogs. Postcards can be a medium cost alternative to fill that gap! Test and see how quickly you get above breakeven with a postcard.

Jim Coogan is president of Santa Fe, NM-based catalog consultancy Catalog Marketing Economics.