I got my second great direct mail piece today from Quark selling the features of their latest release, QuarkXPress 6.5. They are a series of postcards, and each highlights a different feature of the software and explains it through targeted copy and testimonials aimed at print graphic designers with language like "No doubt about it. You don’t know anything about Microsoft Excel, and gosh darn it, you shouldn’t have to!" Aside from outlining some new features, the postcards include a discount offer to upgrade and a contest to win an iPod mini by entering online. In short, a very effective direct marketing campaign.
Unfortunately, if you venture beyond the campaign landing page, it seems the Quark.com website is from a different company. The website ignores the compelling style of writing from the direct mail piece and instead uses the incomprehensible marketing-speak we are all used to seeing (and ignoring) everyday. For example, a concept simply termed "Image Optimization" in one of the postcards, is described online as "Picture manipulation and color management." The page dedicated to describing the features of the new product is confusing and unbranded.
Ordinarily, at this point, I would thank god for campaign microsites – which usually give the best creative campaigns a small chance to exist outside of the canopy of a client’s stagnant website. I’ve worked on more than one campaign where updating the client’s site to reflect or cross promote the new campaign was out of the question. We needed our microsite. Unfortunately for us, it happens all the time. But Quark’s microsite does little more to sell the product and only focuses on contest entry.
My point of view is that for Quark to simultaneously promote the ability of their product to help their target audience manage campaigns across print, web and TV — while not using this advantage to deliver an integrated marketing campaign themselves undermines the power of the print campaign. But at least I can take solace in the fact that whoever managed the print campaign knew about this. They did what most of us have done when faced with a similar situation–they deliberately left the site URL off the postcards. Sometimes you just have to work with what you have.