PRIME©… and I’m not talking Amazon…

In this digital world, direct mail still matters.  You might disagree but it is always nice to receive a piece of mail that is not a bill; and, in so many ways our daily USPS box probably is not as cluttered (and overwhelming) as our inbox.  A recent LifeWire article post shows that the average business person receives 121 emails a day which is a lot of emails to filter.

Regardless of what format the message is sent, we have conditioned ourselves to quickly scan what to keep and what to trash.   Many of us have it down to a science.  Whether it is a circular received in the mailbox or an email message. When it comes to deciding what to spend our time on opening whether it is with a click or a tear it has to be relevant!  We make decisions on what to read in seconds to decide if it is worth our time and effort. Research shows that consumers have on average an 8 second attention span.  Hard to believe but it’s really true.  Microsoft did a study that showed that goldfish have a longer attention span than humans.  They beat us by one second!

While many question the results of that study; and, many articles and blogs have been written to debunk the research we all have to agree that the premise has validity.  In this day in age there is something to be said about the barrage of content, messages and advertising that we are bombarded with on a daily basis.  An integrated marketing approach is always best in reaching our target audience whether it is digital or direct, here are some fundamental questions to ask to yield the highest ROI in marketing regardless of the format.  I created a formula called PRIME© and I’m not talking Amazon. Each component of PRIME© needs to work together to optimize the success of the marketing message.

 Personal – Does the person receiving the messaging feel that it is personally meant for him/her?

 Relevant – Is it important enough for them to spend time reading/watching it?

 Informal – Is it easy enough for them to quickly assess the offer and what they need to do?

 Measurable – What are you doing to track the usage/engagement?

 Employ – What tactics are you using to follow-up when the inaction and/or action is complete?

We received the below direct mail piece at our house before Thanksgiving.  Here are PRIME© check points for thoughts to consider using this card as an example.


 It is:

PERSONAL.  We had recently shopped there and they thanked us for being a customer; and, it tied into the Thanksgiving season since it came early November. 

RELEVANT.  Although, we would have rather received a coupon during the spring time when we have a lot of home and lawn projects; but, understandably many consumers are getting their home ready to host the Thanksgiving holiday.  So, it passes the relevancy caveat.

 INFORMAL.  We could quickly scan and get the gist of the offer and what we needed to do. 

 MEASURABLE.  They included a $10 coupon. We either use it or not. 

 Not ENGAGING.  It would have been great to receive at least two emails from this company:  1). Letting me know that I should have received a card; 2). Reminding me about the coupon expiration date. 


So, whether you decide to go digital, direct or both consider using the PRIME© model to see if your messaging hits the mark.

Sonya Ruff Jarvis, is the Managing Member of Jarvis Consultants and the Founder of the eRetailer Summit and JC Event Group. Sonya has extensive experience in creating original innovative solutions to overcome major business challenges.  Sonya has spent most of her career visiting headquarters across global industries and has built strong business relationships across diverse brands. An expert in the field, Sonya has been published in numerous retail industry b-to-b publications.

Sonya has a M.B.A. in Marketing. She is married and has a daughter and they live in Fairfield County Connecticut.  

Follow Sonya on twitter at @jarvisconsult or @eretailersummit.  

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