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Dimensional Mailings Improve Direct Mail Response Rates

The packaging of promotional products can evoke curiosity as well as increase direct mail response rates. A 1993 study by Baylor University found that the use of dimensional mailers can significantly improve response rates over direct mail alone.

For this study, 3,000 school administrators were divided into three groups, and received either: 1) an envelope with a sales letter, sales collateral and postage-paid business reply card, 2) an envelope with similar contents plus a promotional product, or 3) all of the contents listed above, delivered in a box with a diecut slot, instead of an envelope.

  • Dimensional Direct Mail Response Rates
  • Sales Literature Alone 1.9%
  • Sales Literature + Promotional Product 2.1%
  • Sales Literature + Promotional Product Dimensional 3.3


  • Those who received a promotional product in a dimensional package responded at a rate that was 57% higher than those who received the same promotional product in an envelope.
  • Response rates for the dimensional package recipients were 75% higher than for the group who received only a sales letter.
  • Dimensional packaging made a significant impact on response rates.


Objective: To generate leads that would culminate in a 20% increase in revenue.

Strategy & Execution: To commercial photographer planned a mailing to 300 current and prospective clients among art and media buyers, graphic designers and photography buyers. Enclosed in the mail packages was a tear sheet of the photographer’s ad in a media buying guide and a coaster on which the ad was reproduced. The ad pictured the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz holding a brain (remember, the Oz scarecrow wanted a real brain instead of straw) with the tagline “Accept No Substitutes.” Cushioning the package contents was a bed of straw.

Telemarketing was also used in the promotion.

Results: A 14% appointment rate was secured from the mailing, and revenues for the quarter were 50% ahead of the Silver Springs, MD firm’s best quarter.

Reprinted with permission of Promotional Products Association International, copyright 2005.

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