Adventures in Winback Direct Mail

Blue Bottle Label

Blue Bottle Coffee Winback Mailing

I love winback customers. They are already familiar with your product and are usually much cheaper than a fresh prospect. Better, as they’re familiar with the product, you’ll often see much better retention when they come back after having seen the other options available.

As a former customer, I was really excited to see this dimensional mailer from Blue Bottle Coffee. A 3D box, nice rattle and filled with promise. Well done!

Except they spent tons of money to send it me first class (probably without testing) and never bothered to put my name on the box. Why not? They know my name!

Further, after investing all that money they didn’t give me a reason to open the box right now. It’s got a FREE sample of their latest product (pre-ground coffee) inside. Why not tell me to open it and enjoy their product again, in a new way?

Blue Bottle Bella Donovan Coffee Sample

Bella Donovan Sample

Since I love direct mail, I decided to open the box to see the single serving sample. As with everything they do, it’s packaged very stylishly.

I think the sample is intended to get me to come back to Blue Bottle Coffee and re-start my subscription. But I’m not sure.

The mailing started out poorly and got worse. Let’s go inside and check it out.

Blue Bottle Flyer Front




Notice the size of the flyer.  It’s impossible to get out of the box without bending it open. In fact, when I first opened the box, I thought they’d printed the flyer on the bottom of the box. It took a second–one more second than the average recipient will spend–before I realized it was a separate printed piece.

The very best direct mail will fall apart in one’s hands upon opening it. This piece required me to do work to get to what I’d hoped would be a strong offer, hidden on the reverse of the flyer. After all, why would you spend so much and not make an offer?

Sadly, I was wrong.

Blue Bottle Flyer back

A Flyer Without an Offer. Sigh.

Lots of “we” copy about the company. Nothing about me. Oh sure, I could “sign up” (poor choice of words), but nothing about my past relationship with the company.

Where’s the offer? Where’s the personalized benefits?

They could have thanked me for being a former customer, welcoming me back with a FREE shipment of their great new pre-ground coffee and maybe told me about some of their new home delivery options, making it even easier than ever to be a customer.

Nope. I learned that “we” have hated ground coffee for 14 years and now they’ve got a better way to make it. Why should that make me care enough to want to buy?

I haven’t yet opened the coffee. But when I do, I suspect the aroma will be that of a “growth hacker.” The piece doesn’t make the grade from a direct mail professional point of view.

Takeaway: Know the rules. Work with an expert. Make your direct mail investments pay off.

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