Ruth Sheldon

While closely coordinated direct mail and email campaigns are both popular and successful today, perhaps the most effective demonstrations of the offline-online marriage are personalized URL (PURL) campaigns. This "marriage" is thoroughly explored in DirectMarketingIQ's recent report on personalized URLs.

When leading direct mail copywriters and direct marketers are asked if websites and landing pages need to be better synced with direct mail campaigns than ever before, the answer is an emphatic, "Yes." Bob Bly says, "Not properly syncing the landing page with the direct mail piece or email that brought the prospect there is the No. 1 destroyer of conversion rate."

We didn't need Time Magazine to tell us that the last decade was a rough one for the United States (and for the rest of the world as a result). Never before has such a toxic blend of incompetence, arrogance and corruption been on constant display, whether in the Oval Office, the halls of Congress, military headquarters, corporate boardrooms or national banks offices.

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.

The Internet age has been both a blessing and a curse for direct mail. On one hand, there is less mail in the physical mailbox, as many marketers have reduced their volumes in favor of e-mail messaging. On the other, prospects appear to make more rapid-fire decisions about their mail.

If there's a subject that gets most copywriters, especially those who write in the squeezed publishing sector, fired up, it's vouchers. Simply put, most hate them because these "is it a bill?" mailers have replaced many full-blown acquisition or retention packages that used to be their bread-and-butter work. It's not just that jobs have been taken away, they say, but also the meaning of their work, as so many publications are, in essence, sending a much less impressive representative now—the lowly voucher.

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