Urgent for who?

Every so often I get a piece of mail with big red lettering across the top stating, URGENT: OPEN IMMEDIATELY

I rarely open these pieces of mail unless they come certified. Why? Because most of what people send me isn't  really urgent. Most of these pieces of mail originate from credit card companies whose understanding of URGENT is to give me a low introductory rate. But how is that urgent if I can count on 6 more of the same offers over the next few months?

Doesn't feel very urgent to me...

Urgent implies time sensitivity but with great importance. What most people lack is the sense of value. If URGENT was only indicative of time, then everything would be urgent, wouldn't it?

And that's what marketers have tried to do, right down to the millisecond: drive people like cattle to a specific purchase or action one transaction and direct mail piece at a time.

But again, low APRs don't feel urgent to me and given that I know there will be another one right around the corner, I ignore them. In fact, their claims of urgency are utter failures.

As a result marketers are left to do other, more subtle acts that show true time sensitivity and value: certified mail, genuine time restraints (you won't offer this again in 2 days), a hand written note, a phone call with a familiar voice...

So what are you saying to people when you introduce your message with URGENT?

Not much of anything unless there's some other cue along with it...