The Heart of Direct Mail's Success
What's been at the heart of direct mail's success over the years? Measurability and testability. The primary reason direct mail is, and has been, one of the most successful forms of marketing is our ability to test and measure everything from envelopes, postcards and messages.
Some marketers began looking into alternatives to direct mail when the postal increases took place in 2007, and more lately with budgets that gave short shrift to direct mail in favor of email and other emerging channels. But while email marketing has some definite advantages, it cannot compete with the targeting ability of direct mail. Nor can any other single tactical marketing communications vehicle. And email easily can be identified as "spam" by many recipients' filters, even if it actually isn't.
Remember that most people who don't mind getting direct mail can become easily agitated when prospect email lands on their computer screen. Use email first with current customers, and test it against direct mail to gauge lift.
Many companies seemingly practice "automatic pilot" advertising. Whatever they did before is what they will do again. Rather than plunging headfirst into their next campaign, they would be wise to take a moment and reconsider the advantages of direct mail and testing creatively. Advertisers often call direct mail "targeted mailing" and for good reason — direct mail usually is sent out following analysis of a database.
How can you tell if your advertising is effective? If your business improves shortly after a campaign begins, you might be tempted to assume that the advertising was responsible. If traffic seems to increase after these ads are put into place, then you might conclude that the advertising worked. But this is an assumption, and often a mistaken one.
Meanwhile, direct mail is measurable. When customers walk through the door with a mailer in their hand, your response rate easily can be concluded. And, if you rack and analyze this data, you'll be able to illustrate exactly the ROI of your direct mail pieces.