Lighthearted Ransom Note Holds the Future Hostage

Share this content:
A ransom note can be a delicate theme for a direct mail campaign, but Managing Editor Inc., a software developer for the publishing industry, thinks a dose of humor makes the concept work.

To convey the idea that MEI has a better solution for publishers, the company designed an oversized postcard with text that looks as if it were cut from newspapers and magazines. The message? "We have your future. If you ever wish to see it again, flip this note over."

"It's a fun way of saying, 'Hey, we have a better solution that can make your future and work easier. If you want it, come and get it, or stay where you are,'" said Will Steuber, graphic designer at MEI. "The piece has humor running throughout but it gets our message across and makes sense to the audience we are targeting."

MEI dropped 2,000 pieces last week targeting people the company met at trade shows or through its site in the past six months. Levels contacted include production managers, art directors, graphic artists and freelancers.

The campaign is for the newest version of its product called TruEdit, a collaborative workflow tool that operates with Adobe InCopy and Adobe InDesign. It is used mainly by smaller publications, though larger ones are finding uses for it, Steuber said.

The theme is that people get locked into a way of doing things and use the same tools over and over. In the case of production and graphic artists, MEI wants to show them a better solution for their work.

"In general, people can get too comfortable with the way they do things," he said. "And as a result, they may be ignoring a much better and efficient option. In this case, we are appealing to a group of people who may have become too comfortable with the current form of software they are using."

The text continues to play off the ransom theme by asking recipients whether they feel like they are being held hostage by their old software. If so, the piece tells them to make an escape "with Managing Editor's TruEdit," and that MEI can help them break free of their "present confines and limitations" by leaping into "the future of state-of-the-art layout design and word processing."

The back of the piece lists three steps on how to download a free version of TruEdit and receive a specially priced offer. Respondents can visit a Web site or call a toll-free number.

Though the campaign obviously aims to generate sales, Steuber said, another goal is to build a dialogue with prospects since it is asking them to switch from a program they might have used for years.

"The sales cycle can either be very short for this product or rather long," he said. "When you are asking people to change the way they have done things for quite a while, it might take more than one mailing to accomplish that."

MEI plans at least three more postcard mailings to this group and others who reach out to the company requesting more information. MEI will do outbound prospecting as well.

The creative for the campaign was done in-house. The overall cost was about $5,000.


Next Article in Multichannel Marketing

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

USAData helps businesses find new customers and grow their current customers through a combination of data and digital marketing services, and easy-to-use SaaS technology products. We enrich customer data so businesses can more effectively target and communicate with customers, and connect them with their best look-alike prospects through digital and traditional channels. We make it easy through simple, self-serve applications and APIs, as well as through full-service programs managed by our Data and Digital experts. 

Find out more here »

Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here

Relive the 2017 Marketing Hall of Femme

Click the image above