These Smart Marketers Stick with Direct Mail
The death of direct mail has been greatly exaggerated!
Every day when the mail arrives, I anxiously sort through the pile hoping to see a mailer from one of the local community banks or credit unions. Day after day the result is the same – NOTHING!
Oh, wait a minute…I forgot about an occasional co-branded package where my local credit union is attempting to sell me life insurance, dental insurance, or some other product that loosely falls into the financial services bucket. These mailers don’t count. I see them as a nuisance – and bad for brand building.
Yet, I continue receiving hefty envelope packages bearing credit card offers from Chase and Citibank. And the marketing folks at Southwest Airlines must work overtime cranking out their frequent flyer credit card offers.
A week never goes by that I don’t get a mailer or two from the folks at DIRECTV and AT&T. And the marketing experts at Dell and Costco remain direct mail believers.
While they don’t arrive at my house, my blogging partner Joe Swatek receives numerous direct mail offers from Omaha Steaks…as do millions of consumers across the country.
Yet, in spite of all the mail arriving daily at my house almost never does an offer arrive from one of the area’s community banks or credit unions. I’m sure the same is true for millions of Americans.
I just don’t get it.
Why do the vast majority of marketers working for the nation’s community banks and credit unions have an aversion to direct mail?
I know these folks also receive their share of marketing mail on a daily basis – including the stuff from Chase, Citibank, and Capital One. Yet, somehow they are able to ignore the reality that these big banks find direct mail effective and profitable.
Given the advantages direct mail has over most of the other media channels, it defies logic that direct mail is largely ignored by the community bank and credit union marketing crowd.
What are some of these advantages?
Personalized direct mail provides you with a one-on-one contact opportunity with members of your coveted target audience.
Direct mail enables you to control the offer flow to ensure a steady volume of responses. Your branches and call center appreciate this.
The right prospect identification software enables your direct mail vendor to predict the response you’ll receive before your mail is dropped. Senior management appreciates this, as do the branch managers.
The right prospect identification software enables your vendor to select the optimal mail quantity that delivers the most response at the desired cost per new account. It’s not about mailing the most pieces but the optimal number of pieces. In effect, you end up mailing less while achieving the same or better response.
Direct mail is, by far, the easiest channel for accurately tracking response to your offers. Have you ever attempted to track response to a radio spot or billboard?
Most people actually enjoy receiving mail at home where they have time to sort through it and read those pieces that interest them.
Direct mail is the least cluttered of today’s marketing channels.
Your direct mail offers are tangible. They can be held in the hand and read at any time – unlike radio and TV spots, billboard messages, emails, and social media messages that can best be described as fleeting or ephemeral.
Direct mail provides you with significantly more time and space to communicate your offers and other messages to your target audience. You have the outer envelope, the letter, a brochure, and any other inserts you may wish to include. An oversized self-mailer provides you with six panels for copy and images. With a radio or TV spot you have 30-seconds while a billboard gives you a maximum of 13 words. And let’s not forget the word limitations with social media and emails.
Done right, direct mail is reliable. It has a rich history of delivering cost-effective results over and over and over. The free checking business was built almost exclusively using targeted direct mail.
In a debate or comparison of any kind, I’ll place my bets for direct mail to emerge the winner.
Hey, I’m not suggesting that you put your entire marketing budget into direct mail. I’m a realist. I understand that direct mail is but one of several marketing channels.
No, what I’m suggesting is that you stop ignoring direct mail…that you stop viewing it as too expensive, too old school, or not sexy like TV or social media.
I’m urging you to give direct mail marketing another, much closer, look.
After all, there must be solid reasons why the nation’s largest banks still depend on direct mail.