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Is There Still a Place for Direct Mail?

Author: LHAWorld Inc.

Date Posted: April 12th, 2011

Remember the days when you’d go to the mailbox and find it overflowing with direct mail marketing messages? Those of us who saw the crest of the direct mail wave first-hand remember it fondly. Back then it was easy to calculate the return on investment based on a 3-5% response rate.

But that world came to a screeching halt with the advent of the digital age. Online marketing became the new new. It leveled the playing field while allowing us access to postage-free instant communication. This surely was the new face of direct mail. Direct mail done better, cheaper, faster, and more targeted.

Although the online revolution brought about many changes, one thing remained constant: the strategy behind targeted direct marketing. The name of the game was still all about getting your message out to a responsive targeted audience who would remember it and take action to become your customers.

Fast forward to 2011. Now while our regular mailboxes may be covered in cobwebs, it’s our e-mailboxes that are stuffed with marketing messages. And this oversaturation of email messages now comes with spam filters, firewalls, and security settings. Our “throw-away” rates are surpassing our click rates and it’s difficult at best to access and maintain a consistent good quality email database. So, how do you break through and get noticed? Think multi-channel marketing. That’s where direct mail steps in.

Sure you’ll have printing and postage costs, but the payoff of this multi-channel strategy could be well worth that expense and more. Now that postal mailboxes are cleared of our competitors and there are fewer pieces of traditional mail waiting for us, our open rates are a bit higher and our attention spans a bit longer. This all adds up to a great time for an effective targeted direct mail program.

Naturally the guidelines for success are still as valid now as they ever were. Here are just three very basic principles to remember when planning your next targeted direct mail campaign:

• The List: First and foremost is getting the right list. Fine tune exactly the right audience for your message. The more targeted, the better the response.

• The Message: It’s always about your customer, not the product or service. Talk with your customers and prospects like they are your audience of one.

• The Brand: Each point of contact with your target audience is another chance to build your brand and your relationships. Customers and prospects need to first become familiar with your brand, then come to trust that it will serve their needs.

Of course, because no marketing piece is an island (and there is no silver bullet), we know that a multi-channel philosophy is the best way to approach your marketing initiatives. So, whether it’s an email marketing program combined with direct mail then followed by a social media outreach, or direct mail combined with an online purl program, each element of your marketing communications program needs to be designed to reinforce your overall brand message and marketing strategy. That’s when the magic starts to happen.

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