Paying it forward: Umphang Hospital’s creative direct mail campaign

3 minute read

Direct mail can command attention, raise awareness, and even inspire generosity. In the latest issue of INCITE, we took a look at a direct mail marketing campaign from Umphang Hospital that turned recipients into senders and made a tremendous impact on a struggling community.

A campaign that solved a problem

We shared the details of Umphang Hospital’s creative direct mail campaign in issue 10 of INCITE. The campaign was designed to solve a big problem for the hospital. In a nutshell, affluent residents in the community were not finishing their medications, while disadvantaged patients were unable to afford those exact prescriptions.

The hospital knew that one group could enhance the lives of the other, but needed an easy way to connect them. The answer lay in a creative redesign of the packaging for patients’ prescriptions.

The hospital rebranded the bags they used to supply prescriptions, transforming them into envelopes that were addressed back to the hospital. The envelopes also included illustrations of the issue at hand, pulling on the heartstrings of affluent patients. Patients who had medication to spare simply placed their unused pills back into the bag and sent the envelope on to Umphang Hospital to distribute to those in need. Brilliant, right?

Old dog, new tricks

This unique direct mail marketing campaign inspired its recipients to take action and become senders. It made things simple by turning the outreach vehicle into an envelope that explained the issue and how they could make an impact with a specific action.

Essentially this campaign put a new twist on an old concept. Standard direct mail campaigns for charities include an envelope addressed to the sender where recipients can place a donation for the cause. It’s a strong nudge to do more than just read a letter — it pushes recipients to take action in the moment. This campaign did just that, but instead of asking for donations, Umphang Hospital asked for something much more practical that the recipients were almost guaranteed to have and not need.

Do your direct mail pieces inspire action?

Businesses, organizations and marketers can learn a lot from this campaign, and the other campaigns we examine in each issue of INCITE.

Do you want your customers and/or clients to take action? Ask yourself how can you creatively inspire them with direct mail. Make sure that what you want them to do is clear and don’t forget to motivate them!

There are many ways to inspire people to act. You could try everything from a limited time promotion to a direct mail donation campaign. Here are a few things to include in your next direct mail campaign to inspire action:

A clear CTA

Make sure your message to your customers is loud and clear, and include a call to action. Let them know what you need from them and how they can deliver it.

A way to respond/take action

Umphang Hospital made it easy for their patients to respond to their outreach campaign by turning their delivery vehicle into a return envelope. You don’t have to do that but you should consider including a pre-addressed envelope in your mailer if you want your customers to write you back or send something your way. It makes the process easier for them. If you want them to take action online, include links and instructions in your messaging.

A compelling message

Umphang’s campaign was successful because it clearly outlined the issue at hand (through illustrations). It’s message was so compelling that recipients took time out of their day to do something that did not benefit them. Why should your customers act? You need to make that crystal clear and make them feel good about taking action.

Are your direct mail pieces inspiring action? Guide and motivate your readers to make them move. If you make every step easy to follow, communicate your objective clearly, and emphasize what your customers stand to gain, you’ll have them eating out of the palm of your hands.

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