What Can Walgreens & Hallmark Teach Marketers?

By Dora Lutz, Founder & President, 3 Hawks Consulting

The other day I received an envelope in the mail that perplexed me. At first glance, it looked like a piece of direct mail, but it was the size and shape of a birthday card, AND it had the gold-seal of a Hallmark card on the back. When I opened it, it was a thank-you card from Hallmark for a recent purchase, with a promotional insert for Walgreens.

This one piece of mail, I decided, might be the most perfect piece of direct mail I’ve ever received. (If nothing else, it got me thinking about which of these principles we should be using for my existing clients!)

So what was it about this piece of direct mail that made it so compelling?

 1. It was unexpected and a nice way to stay connected


Without any major events coming up in my life, the timing was perfect. Too close to my birthday, and I might have felt disappointed that it wasn’t a card from a friend!

2. It was personalized

Obviously, Hallmark was aware that I’d purchased a card recently, and the coupon inside gave me further incentive to buy their brand in the future.

3. It used data without being creepy

Admittedly, my initial reaction was a bit skeptical: how did they know that I’d purchased a card? And how did they get my address?   However, the coupon inside was co-branded with the Walgreens points program, so I was able to understand quickly that they’d pulled the data from a source I trust with my data.

4. It fulfilled a brand promise

For me, there’s always been something about the little gold Hallmark sticker (yep, I’m the person who cries at the commercials. Maybe they need to co-brand with Kleenex, next.)   So it’s no surprise that upon seeing that little sticker on the back of the mail, for just a moment I felt pretty special. But this also reminded me of the way people feel when you send a Hallmark Card.


I think that these principles can apply equally to email, social media and print marketing efforts, but the fact that it was so well in line with the Hallmark brand (and their product) it was an exceptionally well produced piece of collateral.

What marketing materials have you seen recently that you thought were exceptionally well done?

About the Expert

Dora Lutz, President and CEO, 3 Hawks Consulting

DoraLDora Lutz is a creative, collaborative, digital marketing generalist who has spent her career in the trenches gaining experience in logistics and operations, management, marketing, and business development.  Dora is passionate about the ways digital media are transforming the ways people communicate, and loves building plans that yield tangible, meaningful results.

Dora earned her MBA in Organizational Leadership from Butler University, and has over 15 years of management and communications experience from a variety of industries.

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