See Andy's other stuff:

RSS Feed

Follow Andy

Contact Me >>

Newsletter: #1022: The “Great Stuff in the Mail” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Mail puts something physical in people’s hands — something most marketing can’t do. It’s also one of the oldest forms of marketing, and while part of that means people are trained to ignore it, it also means there are huge opportunities to do it in a way that’s never been done before.

Here are three remarkable things companies are sending in the mail:

1. Scissors
2. Ridiculous gifts
3. Tootsie Rolls
4. Check it out: Plink

1. Scissors

Everyone knows the pain of getting a package that’s too difficult to open. And unfortunately, the frustration of prying open these packages can sometimes outweigh the delight of getting them. GiftTree knows that. So they send a complimentary pair of scissors with every package and a note to explain that “part of providing the finest in luxury is knowing that the gifts are easy to open and enjoy.”

The lesson: These complimentary scissors are a big, visual reminder that customer service details matter to GiftTree. Plus, they’re just not the kind of thing you throw away. Now, every time someone sees these branded scissors, that customer will have a great story about GiftTree.

2. Ridiculous gifts

Without advertising, Cards Against Humanity went from a creative-commons-licensed game made by a few friends to one of the most popular games sold on Amazon. They’re great word of mouth marketers, and one of their greatest tactics involves mailing stuff to people. For example, this year, they let people sign up for “Ten Days of Kwanzaa or Whatever.” Each day, they mailed people stuff like a playing card with their name on it, Cards Against Humanity-themed stickers, and even the title to a square foot of land on “Hawaii 2.”

The lesson: When people buy a card game, they usually only buy it once (with the exception of expansion packs, which CAH has a bunch of). That means, after the newness of the game wears off, people stop talking about it. Cards Against Humanity not only got back on their customers’ minds for this campaign, but also mailed them a huge pile of word of mouth tools.

3. Tootsie Rolls

This isn’t the first time we’ve written about They sell boring stuff like headsets and phone accessories, but they’re known for adding Tootsie Rolls to every order they ship. It’s a great word of mouth tactic, and this time, they did something even more special. Our Operations Specialist, Michelle, thanked their operator for the Tootsie Rolls we received in an order and mentioned the orange-flavored ones were her favorite. You can guess what color Tootsie Rolls Michelle got in the mail next time.

The lesson: Little moments to surprise and delight your customers like this come up all the time. treats them like a well-oiled machine, carefully gathering the information and doing something about it every time.

4. Check it out: Plink

This site lets you create music with strangers in real time. Just pick a color to choose your instrument and click your mouse to play it. Then you can drag it up and down to change the note. It’s surprisingly addictive.

Check it out: Plink

Email to a friend:

Privacy: We won't save or reuse these emails.


  1. Emilia Pineda February 1, 2015 at 2:03 pm #

    That is such an awesome idea for impressing and interacting with customers. Too bad it can’t be implemented with online marketing – at least not with something physical in people’s hands.

  2. Marcia Brooks February 6, 2015 at 9:17 am #

    We see creatives ideas for this all the time! Our customers set up some really great ways to integrate with online options too. Really creative people out there.

  3. bridgettecude February 6, 2015 at 9:24 am #

    Hi Emilia,

    Thanks for your comment! Actually, all of these examples come from online retailers. The idea is, when they mail their products, they make sure to include something worth talking about.

    Luckily, you don’t have to have a physical store to do that.

    Bridgette with the team at

  4. Foundaspace February 11, 2015 at 3:26 am #

    Creative ways to communicate with the customers. Thanks for sharing.

Get My Newsletter!

Subscribe to Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! for a weekly email full of unusually useful ideas for smart marketers. Great marketing is about brains, not bucks. The best business ideas are easy to do, inexpensive, and fun. Learn to simplify your business, earn word of mouth, and thrill your customers:

Never display this again