Posted by | 09/02/2016 | Articles, Canada Post, Direct Mail Marketing, News Releases

Earlier this week Canada Post and its unions finally reached a new agreement putting all this postal service uncertainty behind us. Businesses can resume using the postal system with confidence as we move into the busy fall season.

We’d like to thank both sides for striving to avoid any work disruption while embroiled in some pretty tough negotiations over the last few months. We think they may understand how fragile their relationship is with both businesses and consumers. There are just too many ways to solve a problem nowadays and when it comes to delivering your message, there are no shortages of alternatives.

In saying that, we think that this is a great opportunity to remind marketers of some of the unique benefits of direct mail and why it remains such a powerful communications channel.

  • Physicality—Direct mail drives action. There’s 21% less mental effort required to process direct mail than digital media.
  • Data—Reach the right people with the right message at the right time. 66% of recipients keep direct mail they consider useful.
  • Connectivity—Amplify your message. In response to direct mail, 64% have engaged with a brand online.

We have many new initiatives planned for this fall, a website refresh in the making, client educational sessions and some exciting new research into the neuroscience behind direct mail that we’d like to share with you. Let us know if you’d be interested by dropping us a note on our Contact Us page.

Lastly we’d like to thank all of our customers who’ve had the confidence to continue to partner with us in executing their direct mail campaigns throughout the last few months of uncertainty. Those low mail volumes during the summer months provided a unique opportunity for your brand to break through the noise and reach your customers.

Posted by | 07/19/2016 | Articles, Canada Post, Direct Mail Marketing, Strategy

woman getting direct mail

With the summer months being typically a low volume period for direct mail coupled with the threat of a disruption of service by Canada Post, marketing mail volume has dropped significantly in recent weeks—by as much as 80% by Canada Post estimates.

We expect the mail service to continue without interruption at regular delivery standards while Canada Post and their employees’ union are in negotiations. Under these circumstances, today’s near-empty mailboxes present a unique opportunity for your brand.

While business customers and consumers are inundated with digital messages and emails, a well-crafted direct mail campaign is now likely to garner far more attention than ever before and give you a chance to break through the noise and reach your customers.

The Advantages of Direct Mail

While both direct mail and digital messages allow for targeted marketing, direct mail has a number of distinct advantages*:

  • Direct mail enjoys a time slice in the life of the consumer. Collecting mail is part of the “coming home” routine, and is so embedded in life that many consumers have “ritualized” it — or made it a routine that is significant for them. People tend to sort it in the same part of the home every time: the kitchen, home office, living or dining room. Every time a brand contacts a customer via mail, it is a unique opportunity to embed themselves within and benefit from the positive emotions of arriving in the intimate home setting. This can increase a consumer’s openness to offers.
  • Checking the mailbox

  • Consumers are far more likely to notice, open and read mail than digital forms of advertising. Consumers state they are more likely to notice and read direct mail than email. One third say direct mail is the most effective way to get them to remember a product or service.
  • More than twice as many consumers say they enjoy receiving direct mail than digital advertising. They’re more likely to associate feelings of happiness or surprise with physical advertisements, while digital ads are more often experienced as distracting or intrusive. Research in a Royal Mail paper even suggests more than half of consumers are more likely to feel valued and to have a better impression of a company if they contact them by mail rather than email.
  • Direct mail is kept – catalogues and flyers often in the living room, other promotional mail on the fridge or by the couch, restaurant menus in a kitchen drawer. Mail that is kept and displayed presents repeated opportunities to engage the consumer.
  • Direct mail persuades, starting by being a go-to source of information and inspiration early in the purchase journey. More than 9 in 10 consumers say they get ideas for household shopping from flyers, and check grocery flyers at least once a month. Around one in five used unaddressed mail for unintentional purchases, and one in three use it to help with planned purchases.
  • Direct mail drives traffic, and is a powerful complement to the digital channel: a significant portion of consumers visit a website or a store, or engage in social media, in response to receiving direct mail or a catalogue.

*Research findings obtained from Canada Post’s Breaking Through the Noise, an ethnographic study that explores how consumers behave with mail, their attitudes and emotions toward it, and how they interact with it.

The bottom line

The mailbox is one of marketing’s least cluttered channels — helping to deliver high response rates and good return on investment. With so little competition for your customers’ attention, now is an ideal time to consider adding direct mail to your marketing mix.

Contact us now to discover more about how with the help of Kirk Marketing, direct mail can drive your business.

Posted by | 06/19/2016 | Articles, Canada Post, Direct Mail Marketing, News Releases, Strategy

canada post truck

UPDATE August 26, 2016:

As expected, the postal union issued 72-hour strike notice yesterday that puts postal workers in a strike position by Monday August 28. However, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, MaryAnn Mihychuk, announced she will appoint a special mediator to assist in negotiations. The Labour Minister “hopes to have a significant resolution in place by Sunday”.

We are confident that any potential job actions that may occur next week will not result in a full-blown strike and shut down of the Canada Post network.

UPDATE July 17, 2016:

For Neighbourhood Mail: EST and Precision Targeter users – Fee to be reinstated on Monday July 18 for the Specified Delivery Start Date option.

UPDATE July 10, 2016:

Canada Post has withdrawn its 72-hour notice, which was to take effect Monday, July 11. As a result, there will be no lockout. Assuming that the postal workers’ union remains committed to negotiation without striking, the postal system will remain open for business. Very good news for now—however, whether any real progress is being made at the bargaining table, that remains to be seen.

We therefore expect mail service to continue without interruption, and we feel you can ship with us with confidence. In the event of a strike or lockout, either party has to issue a 72-hour notice.” – Canada Post

UPDATE July 7, 2016:

Postal workers’ union has “politely declined” the proposal from the federal labour minister to undergo binding arbitration. Barring any negotiated settlement, work stoppage will now most likely take place on Monday.

UPDATE July 6, 2016:

The Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, MaryAnn Mihychuk, asked both Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW-Urban and CUPW-RSMC) to submit to binding arbitration to resolve the current impasse at negotiations. Canada Post agreed to voluntarily submit to binding arbitration as an opportunity for both parties to reach an acceptable resolution.

“Canada Post is extending the current 72-hour notice period to Monday at 12:01 am to provide time for the union to consider this option.”  – Canada Post

UPDATE July 5, 2016:

Canada Post has issued a 72-hour notice to the two unions that represent their delivery agents and plant employees.

“The issuing of the notice does not necessarily mean that Canada Post will not be operating on Friday. It allows the Corporation to take measures that are necessary to respond to the changing business reality. It is doing so by changing the terms and conditions of employment for all employees represented by the union starting Friday, July 8, 2016.” – Canada Post

There can be no legal work disruption before 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 8, 2016.

UPDATE July 4, 2016:

Canada Post says talks with the union representing postal workers continue and it still hopes to negotiate a deal. The company has not given the required 72 hours notice of a lockout, nor has the union given notice of any job action, despite having a strike mandate from members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. That means as of today, the earliest there would be a disruption to service would be Thursday July 7.

Last Wednesday June 29, Canada Post announced they they would be temporarily suspending the fee for the Specified Delivery Start Date option for Neighbourhood Mail, stating “The mailing will be delivered on a best effort basis, until the situation returns to normal.”

UPDATE June 13, 2016:

“A formal conciliation period ended on June 10, 2016, however labour negotiations between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) continue. The parties are now in a 21-day “cooling-off” period. Based on that timeline, there can be no legal work disruption until at the earliest July 2, 2016.” – Canada Post

You may have heard that Canada Post is currently in contract negotiations with their letter carriers and inside workers – both urban and rural.

A few people will scoff at this news and say they will hardly even notice the absence of any snail mail delivery as they receive nearly all of their correspondence electronically now. But did you know that for many small businesses and charities in your community, this is a powerful method of communicating the unique benefits and value of the products and services they offer to you and your neighbours? In addition, fundraisers and charities depend on Canada Post to keep donations coming in to support their appeals.

What is Kirk Marketing recommending?

In the event of a disruption of service, Canada Post has indicated that June 17 is the latest you can drop mail to ensure delivery by June 30. We believe they are being overly cautious with their timelines, and suggest a slightly narrower window before the last day of induction. Our estimation is as follows:

  • Personalized Mail (non-machineable) by June 23
  • Personalized Mail (machineable) by June 27
  • Neighbourhood mail (local) by June 27
  • Lettermail by June 27

woman checking mail

Introducing Kirk’s Every House Delivery™ Service

As an alternative to Neighborhood Mail, Kirk Marketing has arranged for an alternative to Canada Post’s Neighbourhood (unaddressed) Mail distribution. Here is a brief summary of the service we can provide for your business in the event of a disruption of service by Canada Post:

  • 5,000 piece delivery minimum
  • Full coverage Lower Mainland and Upper Fraser Valley
  • Coverage in many other areas in Western Canada based on volume.
  • Rates start around 16 cents per piece
  • Houses only (no apartment buildings)

While no one can predict exactly what will happen, if a work disruption does take place, we believe it will not go beyond one to two weeks. Our recommendation to our clients is to continue with production as normal, allow Kirk to manage your mail induction dates and have us hold your finished mail as needed until normal operations resume.

What should you do?

We continue to monitor the potential labour situation via our Canada Post Expert Partner representative, and will provide updates here as they are made available. Please contact your account representative if you wish to discuss your specific project.

Kirk Marketing has been helping clients with their direct marketing projects for over 60 years, so needless to say we’ve had a lot of experience dealing with postal disruptions in the past! Trust us to provide you with the proper advice, planning, and strategy so that your direct mail campaign will be a success regardless of the outcome of the current labour negotiations!


Posted by | 05/30/2016 | Articles, Canada Post, Direct Mail Marketing, Strategy, Tips

Customers move. It’s a marketing fact of life.

When you think of the cost of acquiring your customers in the first place, and to then have them literally move away from you through no fault of your own—it’s just awful. With almost four million Canadians moving every year*, your customer database will gradually become populated with degraded addresses that no longer exist for your customers. Efforts to reach these individuals will just add to campaign costs and reduce marketing ROI.

New Movers

Thankfully, Canada Post maintains a comprehensive list of all movers that spans the last 6 years and is updated on a monthly basis. It’s referred to as the Canada Post NCOA Mover Data list (NCOA stands for National Change Of Address) and it is simply the finest way to refresh your customer list with current and correct addresses. In addition to being a Smartmail Marketing Expert Partner, we are also an authorized user of this privacy-compliant database, and we regularly perform this service as best practice with our clients.

Why update your customer mailing list with NCOA data?

  • Increase your customer lifetime value by retaining contact with your customers when they move.
  • Create accurate customer profiles for business intelligence and future marketing campaigns with current and correct address information.
  • Improve the ROI of your direct mail campaigns by reducing postage spent on undeliverable and returned mail.

How can I use this service on my customer mailing list?

Simple, you get in touch with us and we will guide you through the process. Essentially, this is what happens:

  1. You register with Canada Post and ask them for a TOU ID (Terms Of Use ID).
  2. They provide you with the TOU ID (it’s a combination of letters and numbers).
  3. You provide us with the TOU ID and your customer data list.
  4. We run your list against the NCOA Mover Data and capture the updated addresses.
  5. We send your list back to you so you can update your CRM records or database.

Note: It’s important to understand that this service can be used with your customer list only. When you receive your TOU ID it means you are entitled to the new addresses and can use them immediately. Each TOU ID lasts for one year and is a simple renewal with Canada Post.

Woman reading a catalogue.

What about the lists I rent for Acquisition mailings?

We do have special provisions in place for performing this service for Acquisition mailings that are using rental lists. In this case we complete the application on your behalf and complete the NCOA processing for the final mailing list. Your acquisition mailings will not go to old addresses! The big difference here is that we cannot send the address-updated rental lists back to you. But any responses you get will automatically have current addresses.

What do I do about my customers that reside in the US?

No problem at all. The United States Postal Service has a very similar process in place for NCOA processing, and Kirk Marketing has been providing this service for many years. It’s actually a bit easier as we submit the forms to the USPS on your behalf. It is important to note that we are a fully licensed user of the USPS database and therefore authorised to perform this service at our facility—we do not outsource to third party processors.

You can register for a Canada Post Terms of Use ID at:

Please contact us if you require any additional information!

*Canada Post references

Posted by | 05/09/2016 | Environment

Who says you can’t be kind to the planet and reduce costs at the same time? Kirk Marketing has partnered with Kodak Graphic Communications and Spicers Canada, switching to Kodak SONORA Process Free press plates—and that means we’re eliminating all the processing chemistry and equipment associated with traditional plate processing. This single change in technology also means we use less water, less electricity and less paper for setting up the press.

“SONORA plates expose faster and improve print quality while reducing our impact on the environment,” says Ian McInnis, Prepress Supervisor at Kirk Marketing. “Of course, as in the past, these aluminum printing plates are recycled at the end of their lifetime.”

Want to know more about how this quiet revolution impacts the footprint YOUR direct marketing makes or any of the other environmental initiatives at Kirk? Please ask.

Posted by | 05/04/2016 | News Releases

Craig Bauer, Senior Account DirectorVANCOUVER, BC (May 4, 2016) – Kirk Marketing, Western Canada’s leading direct marketing services provider, welcomes Craig Bauer as Senior Account Director.

Over the past 22 years, Craig has been involved in all aspects of the printing industry. Most recently having spent over 13 years with Hemlock Printers, as an Account Manager and Client Services Manager, servicing a mixture of North American clients. With a four year diploma in Visual Communications, and a strong understanding of print production, he has helped many of his clients achieve their vision.

“Craig brings to Kirk a wealth of knowledge in print production and a creative and innovative approach to client management,” said Natalie Green, Managing Partner, Sales & Marketing. “We are thrilled to have him join our team, and look forward to the valuable contributions he will make towards our continued growth.

In a statement by Craig Bauer: “I am super excited to join Kirk Marketing. I believe my background in print management and creative design allows me to think uniquely to help clients solve their targeted goals. I am comfortable in a highly technical or a wildly creative discussion. I truly believe that, in this current world we live in, we have to communicate in new ways in order to allow the messaging to be heard and absorbed. I also realize the responsibility that my clients bring to me to ensure their messaging supports their goals and their corporate culture.”

Kirk Marketing ( is a data-driven direct marketing services company that helps clients reach prospects and grow customers with measurable results by providing marketing data services, creative services, and print services all from within their 50,000 square-foot production facility.

Media Contact:

Daryl Akin, Sr. Marketing & Production Coordinator

Posted by | 04/27/2016 | Direct Mail Marketing, Direct Mail Marketing, Strategy, Tips, Uncategorized

Our colleagues across the pond at Citipost Mail have looked at what you need to consider when planning your direct mail campaign and how to maximise your direct mail marketing efforts.
(Of course Saturday delivery is not an option for us here in Canada… yet!)

Direct Mail throughout the year

We can help you plan and execute a successful direct mail campaign. For inquiries, send us a note on our contact page.

Infographic attribution to

Posted by | 04/18/2016 | Canada Post, Direct Mail Marketing

Smartmail Marketing Expert PartnerAn Expert Partner, or what Canada Post now refers to as a “Smartmail Marketing Expert Partner”, is a company that demonstrates its expertise in direct mail execution and delivery and meets certain eligibility requirements established by Canada Post. These eligibility requirements include things like ensuring all our staff are adequately trained in direct mail management, sales and production.

Quite simply, it means we’re really good at direct mail and we can provide you with the kind of expertise and experience that Canada Post usually reserves for its larger business customers!

What are the benefits of using an Expert Partner?

  • Access in-depth knowledge – We have access to a pool of resources including market studies and test cases in various business verticals.
  • Get seasoned advice – If you’re new to direct mail, you’ll benefit from our experience in direct mail strategy and our knowledge of all rates and special discounts that could save you money and time.
  • Use our technical expertise – We will take care of the mailing details for you – such as sorting and grouping your direct mail by postal route, adhering to printing specifications and much more.
  • Save money with direct mail offers and promotions – Enjoy substantial savings on your next direct mail campaign. Canada Post provides us with access to special discounts, providing better value and cost savings on direct mail campaigns.

Contact any member of our client services team so that we can provide you with the “expert partner” knowledge that makes your next direct mail campaign a success.

Posted by | 01/23/2015 | Articles, Direct Mail Marketing, Direct Mail Marketing, Tips

In the quest to tie the print and physical world to the digital world for fully integrated advertising campaigns, marketers have been fervently waiting for a killer app to break out from the early-adopter market and into the mainstream. QR codes and NFC tags have fallen by the wayside for marketing use (though that itself is still arguable among marketing circles), and just recently one more technology is now threatening to join them.

On January 15th 2015, Google announced they will no longer be producing Google Glass eyewear. With the departure of Google Glass goes with it what has possibly been the strongest opportunity for augmented reality to fully enter into the mainstream.

Over the years, creative marketers have developed very attention-grabbing campaigns utilizing augmented reality, but it is arguable how much of the interest from these campaigns actually translated to revenue or brand equity, and how much of it was simply due to the novelty of it.

Here are some examples of Augmented Reality utilized in marketing and branding with direct marketing and print to let YOU decide if there’s a future with Augmented Reality and direct marketing.

McLaren P1

Using the camera on your phone and a special design on a brochure, this app puts a multi-million dollar super-car into the palm of your hand. Or on your desk. Or in your garage. Or wherever you place the brochure. You can also print the image yourself HERE and download the app (For AppleFor Android) if you want to try it out yourself.

McLaren P1

Starbucks Valentines Day

Starbucks used themed Valentines Day cups to create an Augmented Reality campaign that allowed users to create and send personalized animations and messages to their loved ones.


Ikea Catalog

Always innovative with their direct marketing, Ikea integrated Augmented Reality to their annual catalog allowing you to place furniture in your home.


Toyota Camry

In the fullest sense of the word, this award-winning campaign literally augments the brochure with additional information, interactive images, and videos that is simply not possible to convey through print. The video boasts a 20% increase in sales driven directly from this campaign.


Having seen these campaigns, do you think Augmented Reality can stand the test of time and fully go mainstream?

Google has said they will continue with development of wearable technology despite halting production of Google Glass, and as of January 21st 2015, Microsoft has announced development of their own device called HoloLens. There might be hope yet for the future of Augmented Reality and Direct Marketing.


Posted by | 01/09/2015 | Articles, Direct Mail Marketing, Direct Mail Marketing, Popular Blog Posts, Strategy

Creativity doesn’t have to be complex. In fact, trying to develop a simple, attention-grabbing, creative piece is arguably MORE difficult than a complex one.

Of course you can mail a clever gizmo or widget that is on-brand and on-message in an attention-grabbing dimensional box. However, limiting your message to an engaging piece that still fits in an envelope is an even greater creative challenge.

Best of all, the simpler piece is often more affordable than the complex piece… (Notice I say ‘often’ as a simple piece does not always mean it will be cheap!)

#7: Direct Mail Targets Your Kitty

Everybody loves cat videos, right? This direct mail piece looks past the target audience and looks at the target audience’s pet. Maybe B2P (business to pet) will be the next marketing trend?


#6 TELUS: Turf Mailer

While the cat-nip piece appealed to the senses of the pets, this piece appeals to the senses of the pet’s football-loving owners. This shaggy piece may not be considered ‘cheap,’ but it’s no comparing to this next piece…


#5 Porsche: Instant & Variable

Though the piece itself is simple (but highly personalized), the execution was definitely complex. Fortunately, with the advanced digital variable print technology available today (and a little dash of creativity), it’s possible to develop a comparably personalized piece without having to run a print shop out of the back of your van.


#4 Ikea: Jumping Table

Ikea is a veteran when it comes to creative direct mail. While this piece was featured as an insert in their annual catalog, it could easily be executed through the mail. The pop-up box is a common design, but it’s the on-brand creative of the outer envelope and the decision to feature the iconic LACK table is what leaves the impression to the recipient.


#3: Advent Calendar-Style Card

On the surface it’s just two pieces of paper glued together, cut and folded. However, besides the basic die-cutting and scoring, it’s the fantastic art direction that brings this simple card to life.


#2 Avis: Offline E-Mail

It doesn’t get any simpler than a hand-written letter in an envelope. However, the charming design of the letter and envelope enhances this otherwise ‘simple’ letter. Contrasting the ‘digital letter’ design with definitely-not-digital handwriting adds to the delightfulness. Have I mentioned Kirk has a handwriting machine?


#1 Mercedes-Benz: Fast and Easy

Call it an invisible letter? With the graphic printed on the inside of the envelope, the actual ‘letter’ is transparent. Talk about simplicity!

Are your creative juices flowing yet? What other examples of simple, yet creative marketing pieces have you come across lately?