My colleague, Craig Blake, recently shared an interesting blog about Lexus’ new marketing approach, called “Cineprint,” which is sort of like augmented reality. This relatively new technology introduces a futuristic approach to the common mailpiece.  However, good ol’ direct marketing approaches work quite well, too.  The combination?  Fuhgettaboutit.

I recently received a mailing from my local Lexus dealership suggesting that my 9-year-old Lexus sedan was ready to retire.  The mailing used traditional direct marketing techniques like personalization and a call to action.  I’m a big believer in NOT buying new cars, so, the mail piece, while very unique, didn’t get me to take the next step.  One more mailing and watching the uniqueness of Craig’s blog, however, had me intrigued. 

The mailing sparked me to do a little research and I found that one of the new Lexus models was rated at 40 mpg on average, for both city and highway.  Since I drive 40,000 or more miles per year, that feature grabbed my attention.

I ended up at the dealership (after the two mailings and the view of Craig’s blog) and test-drove their ES 300h, the hybrid version with the 40 mpg.  I loved it and found myself trying to figure out how to justify the purchase to my wife.  Hmmm.  “Honey, I did the math - it seems to make sense.  The depreciation is offset by the gas savings, and the maintenance is a lot lower.  Plus it’s a hybrid – so, I’m helping to save the environment.  This is a no-brainer!”  Heck, I didn’t even know I was in the market to buy a car until I received the mailing.  She wasn’t buying any of it, however.  I was reminded about our plan to save for our children's college education.  

Alas, my new hybrid was not in the cards – at this time.

Yesterday in the mail I received a shiny self-mailer from my local Lexus dealer.  On it was a picture of the car I drove, along with copy that addressed the two main objections I gave to the salesperson.  The personalization was not over the top; just enough to get me to think about the car again.  And, there was an added incentive to get me to take action this week – a doubling of my trade-in for my 2004 model.  Direct Marketing basics were followed to get me to take that next step.

More research was needed.  And this time it was on higher education.  After perusing the tuition rates between private and public schools, I found that public schools, particularly the ones in my home state, cost much less than the private schools.  Go figure.  I had no idea.

Armed with this “new data”, three mailings and two emails from Lexus, I decided why not augment my children’s reality?  The University of Delaware does in fact deliver a high quality education.  And community colleges are a real bargain these days.  Heck, my kids can even pay for college themselves, right?  It would make them better people in the long run.  Gain an appreciation for their education.

I just hope that I don’t receive any mailings from Princeton or Harvard this week.  I need to get to that dealer quickly.  Before that incentive runs out.