Mailing on a Shoestring Budget
Employ a Multichannel Offense
Direct mail should be part of an enterprise-wide marketing program including online channels. For example, Martel strongly recommends that you make sure everyone involved in your organization “understand[s] how direct mail fits into the whole larger marketing strategy for the company; where you are going to use mail in a cross-channel strategy.”
Smith also suggests using online channels, including prospecting e-mails, in 2009. “We’re not saying to walk away from direct mail, right? We’re talking about creating supplements of opportunity that will bring new blood into the brand faster,” she explains. Johnson says direct mail is still the best medium to drive people to a website—better than e-mail—and thinks multichannel is a new golden rule for mail marketers. However, he warns that marketers who see e-mail prospecting as a cheaper alternative to mail should be aware of the hazardous combination of higher costs and lower response rates for e-mail lists versus postal lists.
Use Metrics to Monitor Costs
To survive a downturn, Smith recommends focusing on three marketing indices: new customers, existing 12-month customers and 13-month reactivated customers from a month-over-month and year-over-year perspective. A lot of mailers are cutting back by putting some of their tests or rollouts on the back burner for 2009. Smith advises analyzing and potentially cutting any campaign that is not presenting a 35 percent positive contribution after revenue.
Metrics also can curb wasted time and money within your organization. “Stop owing and putting cash into things that are not working for you. Put cash into things that have an opportunity to show a contribution,” asserts Smith, who advises to check that every employee’s output or workload is 20 percent greater than the prior year, and also to encourage each employee to contribute at least 6 percent growth to your business’ bottom line over the year. Finally, Smith recommends that you “eliminate all contracts with technology providers and consultants for creative and web that are not producing at least a return of 2-to-1 for your dollar.”