My biggest gaffe: Not knowing the price of a stamp

Mark Stretton, MD of Fleet Street Communications, ended up costing potential clients money after a mix-up over postage costs.

Our biggest gaffe happened a number of years ago when we were a new agency. We had created a printed four-page flyer to introduce our company and our services to a targeted list of 250 client prospects. 

We were sending them out by post, with a covering letter (in the days before we did everything on email). 

I’d been away the week before and as our admin assistant, who was responsible for this sort of thing, was out of the office, on my return I set about stuffing the envelopes.

I was incredibly smug when I’d finished, quietly confident that we’d get some nice responses to our flyer – blissfully ignorant that Royal Mail had recently increased the cost of sending certain sized envelopes. 

Typically we’d picked American A5 to try to stand out (requiring additional stamps). 

And we certainly did stand out. The next day, every single recipient received a note from the postman asking them to collect their letter from their local Post Office and pay the difference in postage. 

This resulted in huge embarrassment for us and all sorts of responses from our list. Thankfully, enough people thought that it was a marketing ploy to make sure that we stood out from the crowd. 

In fact, this gaffe resulted in two new client wins – two victories that were snatched from the jaws of defeat.

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