Direct Mail: Dinosaur or Dynamo?

 

The RMR Marketing Advisor Newsletters

Direct Mail: Dinosaur or Dynamo?
By Robyn M. Sachs
President, RMR & Associates, Inc.

Now that businesspersons and consumers alike are comfortable going to the Web for their news and information, what’s become of true direct mail? Should companies still send it? Do people still read it? Are companies who use it as part of their marketing campaigns viewed as savvy marketers or out-of-step dinosaurs?

 

Alternatively, are direct email campaigns an acceptable form of marketing or are they quickly deleted as spam?

 

Direct mail is alive and well. Nothing can replace being able to hold a direct mail piece in your hands, to touch it, tack it up on a board, pull it down and look at it again. Done well, direct mail gives recipients the impression of a solid company with the financial footing to invest in a sophisticated advertising piece or, hopefully, a full campaign. To a certain degree, there is a negative perception of direct email, especially when compared to direct mail, because Internet scams often use the lower cost method of email versus preparing solid, physical direct mail pieces. In short, don’t expect direct mail to become museum relics any time soon.

 

Direct email is gaining in acceptance. Email campaigns are no longer automatically deleted by spam filters or subjected manually to the “recycle bin.” Executives, managers, and owners are becoming accustomed to being contacted this way. While some still see it as an unwelcome intrusion, even the hardcore deleters are coming around. For speed, ease of preparation, quick updates, and the relatively low cost for its wide reach, email marketing is hard to beat.

 

First: The List. What has long been true for direct mail also holds true for direct email: The list you mail or email to is the most important and vital part of your campaign. If your target audience list is inaccurate or outdated, no offer or amount of creativity will sell your product or service. Book publishers don’t need playground swings any more than plumbers’ associations need golf carts. So invest in obtaining a viable list of contacts.

 

Second: The Offer. Next in importance is what you’re giving away. What incentive does your reader have to take action now? What will they get “free,” or “for a 30 day trial” or “for a limited time only”?

 

Third: The “dynamo” is up to you. With a viable list and a solid offer, you now need ways to get your message noticed. Here are some tried-and-true ways to do that:

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