Direct Mail Strategy: Still In Style
I’m fairly certain the study of direct mail would still be my favorite pastime even if I hadn’t grown up as the daughter of the postmaster of Inman, Kan., (pop. 1,194). It’s true that, from an early age, I was as eager to see the newly issued stamp designs as some of my friends were to see the newest fashions.
But, as fond as I am of direct mail, I also recognize that, thanks to changing technology, new media opportunities, and exciting possibilities offered by the Internet, direct marketers now face a dilemma: What should we do with direct mail?
If you’re already using it, should you continue doing mailings or switch to something more sexy and high-tech? And if you’re not using direct mail because you started on the Web, should you even consider using it at the risk of looking passé?
The Direct Mail Advantage
While I write copy for e-mail and Web sites as well as direct mail, I remain a strong supporter of the advantages direct mail offers direct marketers. Used appropriately, it’s still a very effective tool for targeting your message to the right audience. Here’s why:
Direct mail formats are three-dimensional—even those that don’t mail in a box or tube. Whether you mail catalogs, solos, self-mailers or postcards, your recipient has to hold your mail piece in her hand and make a conscious decision to throw it away. She simply can’t hit delete or push a button on the remote to make your message disappear. Too often, direct marketers underestimate or take this unique quality for granted.
What’s more, in spite of all the negative comments about “junk” mail and how wasteful and “un-green” unsolicited mail is, research shows that customers and prospects still look forward to receiving direct mail, especially when it’s appropriately targeted.