Direct Mail Trends of 2001
The downside of this business tool is the potential for privacy invasion. The upside is being able to target offers and messages more precisely to customers. Usually, the result is direct mail that features personalized messages to different customer segments.
A recent development in printing technology now allows companies to print their personalized messages in several colors in one pass. Plus, the creation of a new digital press makes customized direct mail pieces affordable for more than customer retention efforts.
The focus on customer relationship marketing, a more advanced form of database marketing, also has a profound effect on direct mail. More companies are creating "welcome back" packages to revive lapsed customers.
The use of greeting cards for a personal touch also has increased of late. One of the benefits of using greeting cards for direct mail campaigns is their ability to get past the advertising radar of savvy consumers and business people. That's precisely why the Wildlife Conservation Society's control for the holiday mailing season is a greeting card, even though it struggles to fit an entire sales pitch into a format that offers limited room for copy.
Safety in Numbers
For years, direct marketers have been wondering when the postal rate hikes were going to force them into channels other than the mail. In a year of back-to-back rate hikes, there has been more interest in partnerships with retail operations for distribution of marketing material.
Co-ops, package insert programs and other alternate media programs also have witnessed more tire-kickers. Those who still prefer direct mail for most of their marketing campaigns have found that they can offset the cost of a solo direct mail campaign by taking on partners.
For example, the Express retail chain and Vogue magazine teamed up to offer store credit card holders a one-year subscription that would be charged to their cards. Another partner direct mail campaign came from Infiniti, which covered the expense of its glitzy promotion for its new Q model automobile with a CD-ROM that contained a music sampler from The Verve Music Group and an offer for Internet service from FreeLane.