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Hi ShelbyBoy -

I'm sure you know there are lots of ways to spend that money. I've got a client who specializes in helping companies make a "splash" with giveaways and mailers. I don't know what your business is, so it's hard to know what might be the best solution.

The real question, though, is what is your objective with the mailer? Are you targeting a particular area (by zip code)? Do you have a mailing list from a specific group? Or, is this a mailer to previous clients? Those would have very different objectives, and I'd approach them differently.

What are you trying to get? Attention? Name recognition? Warm leads? Real sales? My opinion is that "cutesy" giveaways may get attention, but unless you also have a message that speaks to a need I have, cutesy doesn't make a lasting impression. I once received a mailer with an infant-sized tennis shoe in it. All I remember of the message was, "Now that I have my foot in the door..." I think he was trying to sell me printing, but I can't recall because he didn't get my business.

Maybe, if you're primarily looking to get responses (warm leads), you might be better off giving away something that people on your list would value. Spend more money on your message piece and entice them to reply (or visit your web site or send an email) for a chance to win. You get name recognition, a shot at communicating your value proposition, and generally happier respondents. Rather than spend $10 per prospect on a fancy pen or coffee mug, you can spend the bulk of your money on something people might really want or use (such as sports or concert tickets, or even a low-end PDA).

Anyway, that's my two cents. I'd be curious to hear what you decide!

Bob
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