Magic Mailer Envelopes – Good or Bad? (written February, 1997)

Over the last few years since the post office has allowed companies to use “eye catching” unique looking envelopes that resemble post office envelopes, people’s opinions have varied as to whether they are “good” or whether they are “garbage.”  My opinion is that they are good. I’ll tell you why after I explain what the people who don’t like them say.

The advocates of the people who don’t like the magic mailer envelope say that they know immediately that it is promotional garbage and many of them throw the contents in the garbage without opening them up, which leads me to advise everyone that I send all my mail out in a magic mailer envelope, including all my bills, commission checks, letters, so if someone wants to throw away their money, that is ok by me. That’s their choice, but that is a different issue. For now, isn’t the idea that your envelope gets noticed one of the most important items on your agenda for any promotional mailing that you do? The fact that someone tells me that as soon as they see this envelope, they throw it away tells me that this envelope is being noticed. Obviously it is being noticed because people can pick it out of their mail and throw it away without even opening its’ contents. Maybe this person is a bad prospect and maybe they are an idiot for not seeing what is inside – it could be that $5,000 commission check that I sent them, but at the very minimum, it tells me that the envelope is being noticed. That is important – very important! That is one of your goals as a marketer – to get your envelope noticed above and beyond the other hundreds of pieces of mail this prospect gets daily. Isn’t it?  So to me these type of envelopes are worth their weight in gold. They are being noticed!

Another complaint I hear rumored is that when a prospect gets this type of envelope, they know immediately that it is promotional mail. That may be true, but isn’t 95% of your mail promotional anyway? Just this past week, I got a fancy looking yellow newsgram from Macy’s and a 6×9 fancy looking envelope from United Parcel Service.  Which ones do you think I opened first?  Now these are major marketing companies using these type of envelopes. That tells me that if the post office says their OK and major league companies are using them, these envelopes work and therefore, I should use them too.

Another complaint I hear rumored is that when the prospect who has never seen this type of envelope gets it, they immediately open it thinking it is something important and some of them get offended when they find out it is only more promotional garbage. Got to take the good with the bad. Some people get offended if you pronounce their name incorrectly for crying out loud.  You can’t please everyone all of the time.  Just the fact the prospect opens it up immediately thinking it is something important interests me as a marketer, which further means when I use these envelopes, I better make sure my offer is important to the prospect and will solve their problems or I deserve to be yelled at – Right?  Make sure you have good offer being mailed to a good list.

Fact is that there are a lot of gimmicks of promotion. If you are in any type of business, you are trying to get the prospect to open your offer above and beyond everyone else’s. Period!! Whether you hand write their name on the envelope or use magic markers or calligraphy or whether you put “information you requested” on the envelope even though they didn’t, in the many years of mailing millions upon millions of offers and probably trying every “gimmick” in the book, using these type of envelopes has worked best for me – and for most major league companies or we wouldn’t use them all the time. I would highly recommend you start using them for all your promotions whether you are in the mailing business or whether you are in other types of businesses. Don’t you want your potential prospects and potential customers to open your letter(s) first and notice you immediately before they notice your competition?

There are a couple of companies out there who sell this type of envelope and many more sell other types of attractive eye catching envelopes.  Check the internet for the many options out there. If you would like to express your opinion, feel free to drop me a note.  Happy Marketing!

The author of this article is Larry Costello, President of All-American Print & Mail, 2200 Wilson Blvd #102-57, Arlington, VA 22201.