Do oversize postcards add value to mailings?

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The gloves are off
The gloves are off

The rush to stand out in the mailbox, as well as advances in mail technology, has led some marketers to consider larger mailers. But are they worth it? Two experts examine options.


Keith Goodman
VP of corporate solutions, Modern Postcard
20 years of direct marketing experience

Yes. Oversized postcards can be effective in business-to-consumer, business-to-business and nonprofit marketing. Although postcards may never replace envelope packages in many markets, oversized postcards do have several advantages over smaller postcards and envelope packages in many instances.

Oversized postcards will stand out more on the kitchen table and the desktop in the home of the recipient. You can't get a response if the piece doesn't get read and it won't get read unless it gets noticed. Size does matter. With the right graphical treatment, a larger card is more likely to get picked from the pile of mail. Use lots of color and include a strong visual component to your pieces to further highlight the large, bold nature of the bigger post card.

Another benefit is the additional space available to convey the message. While smaller postcards might be good for a very short and concise benefits statement, offer and call to action, they do not offer much room for more complex communications. Oversize or multipanel postcards provide the necessary space to communicate just about anything. This is particularly important for marketers who have a number of offers or products.

Larger postcard mailings can save you in the long run because you can present several offers at once. Don't overdo it and try to cram unrelated offers on one postcard. The piece should be designed with your target audience in mind — the extra space is a way to grab their attention and tell a richer story of a brand and an offer.


Sherri Lennarson
Board chair, Promotional Products Associaton Int'l.; SVP, Bankers Advertising Company
27 years of promotion/advertising experience

No. While oversized postcard mailings can be very effective, they are perhaps not any more effective than any other mailing. Due to their size, oversized mailers tend to stand out, but I think a well-defined message and a creative graphic is what really ensures the success of any mailer - and the same is true for the large size postcards. A better incentive to engage consumers with your product is the inclusion of a promotional product with a mailer. Studies show that the inclusion of a promotional product makes a significant difference in direct mail response rates.

According to a study by Silver Marketing Group, the use of promotional products as an incentive for response generates four times as many responses as a mailer alone. Including promotional products is better done in an envelope to ensure that the product isn't damaged in delivery. If your executive team is already open to spending a bit of extra money in order to stand out from the crowd, then consider adding in the extra weight of a trial product with a coupon rather than changing the size of your mailer. More than eye-catching, often a promotional item is something consumers will actually use.

I think sometimes we get preoccupied with the size of a mailing, ultimately forgetting other aspects that can help make a mailing successful. In my opinion, deciding the size of a postcard or any other mailing should only be the first step to creating an effective piece, not the determining factor.


In order to truly stand out, you have to be unique among your peers. So before considering larger postcards or free gift inclusions, be sure you know your marketplace. If the extra spend will make you stand out among the crowd, either option could lead to greater response and sales.

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