Riding the Direct Mail Workhorse to Victory
Many pundits have said Direct Mail is dead. They must be digital online players or media types aiming to steer more business to themselves.
The truth is that Direct Marketing, especially Direct Mail, is the workhorse of many campaigns.
I have always subscribed to the seeing is believing mentality. Go no further than your mailbox to understand my position.
Even before the pandemic, but more so today, you will find consistent examples of marketing through the mail. A unique opportunity presents itself now because the daily volume is conspicuously less.
As email inboxes are bombarded with inquiries, offers and promotions, people are honing their delete button skills. Marketers must use other resources. Some say the first direct marketing effort can be traced back to the stone age, when an enterprising caveman scratched a message on a rock and placed it at the entrance to a neighboring cave. “Loin cloths custom made.” Of course, I am kidding, but you get the point. The message was in front of the other cave dwellers. My analogy may be a bit of a stretch, but I make it to prove my point. Your message needs to be where your audience is. Where better to engage your audience than in their home.
In my house, the first comment I get as I walk in the door is “Did you get the mail?” I reply by waving the mail pieces as I plop them on the kitchen counter. It is a ritual that is played out in more households than not. The receiving of physical mail is still regarded as important, it is tactile and belongs to you alone.
Direct Mail is an important part of many integrated marketing campaigns. Back to your mailbox. You will observe that there are many repeat senders. Major corporations, charities, local service providers, restaurants, salons and catering facilities all reach you via the mail. The savvy ones will send multiple mailings over a period that will keep them top of mind and remembered when you are considering a purchase. The reason you will see repeated mailers is because they have discovered it works.
Mail pieces can take many forms. Letters, cards, fold out self-mailers, newsletters, magazines, and catalogs are infinite in design look and feel. They are used for lead generation, to build store traffic or to make direct sales, but in all cases for brand awareness. Generally, direct marketing has a strong call to action. Call today, use this coupon within 10 days, limited quantities are available, visit our store on Tuesday for a special sale, are all prompts for the recipient to act.
The knock against direct mail marketing is the cost. There is printing, mail processing and of course postage. All true. Marketing through the mail is costly, however, it can yield abundant returns when done correctly. As with any other integrated campaign any mailings must be coordinated and precisely timed to support all the other facets. Every additional media, platform or process when added will heighten the results. Using only one approach is not well thought out. Marrying direct mail with Facebook ads, social media posts, emails, print ads, television and radio advertising will apply a unified effort in all possible mediums. This is especially true in B2B marketing and applies in the B2C world.
A repeat direct mail campaign, without other resources, can still be effective. I would suggest that local providers, professionals, health care and food establishments have the highest possibility of success when limiting their marketing to direct mail. The tighter the geography of the audience the better direct mail works.
Having been in this business for thirty years I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly of direct mail efforts.
Many have taken a one and done attitude, or we tried it once and it did not work. Neither are valid and both are short sighted.
I take the stance that when the student is ready the teacher will emerge. In my career I have taught hundreds of clients that direct marketing should not be dismissed out of hand, and instead considered for the strength it brings to many campaigns and projects.
The author Greg Demetriou is the founder and CEO of Lorraine Gregory Communications, a full-service integrated marketing an advertising agency. He is also the originator of the Ask A CEO interview series found on GregsCornerOffice.com.