Michael Bloom

OK, so your multichannel marketing includes direct mail and coordinating that with your e-mail efforts and your website. Great. But are you also integrating telemarketing? And very precisely coordinating all of these efforts?

There's no use denying it: The universe of active direct mail consumers has shrunk. Sure, there's less direct mail and decreased response rates this year because of the current economy, but even if the economy rights itself fully in next year or two, few direct marketing experts expect it to ever return to the days of yore when direct mail was the preferred response channel.

Wow, times have changed. In the two-plus years in my job as editor of Inside Direct Mail, the multichannel universe has exploded. Few direct mail pieces—no matter how brilliant and previously successful—and the companies behind them can afford to be without a comprehensive and, ideally, coordinated multichannel marketing plan—and the Web site as a major part of it all.

While there are many similarities between e-mail and direct mail copy—such as e-mail subject lines and envelope teasers, subheads and lead paragraphs working in both channels, and offer expiration dates that can be effective in both as well—understanding the key differences will help you run a truly effective multichannel campaign.

Because of today's challenging economic climate, consumers are time-crunched and cash-strapped. They not only have less time to read their direct mail and e-mails, they also are less willing to part with their money. These are significant hurdles for marketers who rely on direct mail and e-mail channels for building revenue.

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