4 Reasons Why Direct Mail Can Thrive in the Social Media Age
Ever since the economy hit a major road bump more than a year ago, investment from most companies in its direct mail similarly has slowed. Meanwhile, new, cheaper channel players like e-mail, social media and mobile marketing are hogging the funds and growing in popularity.
Thus, many questions arise. Are these new players friends or foes to direct mail? Will the latest fashion—e-mail, social media and mobile—fade over time, with direct mail making a comeback of sorts? Or will trends of declining mail continue?
I asked these questions to some leading experts in direct marketing and direct mail. You may be surprised by what they had to say.
1. What Is Old Can Be New Again
"There's been some evidence that all the e-mail we're sending is hurting its efficacy," says Nancy Harhut, executive creative director at Harhut for Hire. "At the same time, direct mail has 'rested' long enough so that now it's working even better than before—what's old appears new again."
In other words, Harhut envisions a peaceful, and even profitable, coexistence between direct mail and the new channels. She says neither have to fade, but rather simply find their rightful places in the communications mix.
2. Mail May Be Old, but It's Wise
Many direct marketers think mail can make a viable comeback, but only if it is used intelligently rather than the "spray and pray" method. "Don't think vast quantities (mass media mind-set). Think in terms of segments (relevant messaging mind-set)," recommends Grant Johnson, CEO of the direct marketing agency Johnson Direct.
Gary Hennerberg, president of The Hennerberg Group, a direct marketing agency, agrees wholeheartedly. "As marketers get smarter about how their customers respond, there will be a movement to segmentation of customers by those who respond well to e-mail compared to direct mail."