“Direct” is the Key to Direct Mail Marketing
Hey, let’s drag out a hackneyed cliche and call it news. No, that’s not what I intend to do with this post. I’m reacting to an article you may have read in USA Today.
The article alternates between waxing nostalgic about personal letters, postcards and greeting cards, and falling back on the cliche that all advertising mail is “junk.”
When I joined ACTON Marketing many years ago, I was told junk mail is direct mail sent to the wrong person.
That’s why you don’t use saturation mailing without a good reason. Instead, by targeting the right places, the right addresses, the right people, you get the best response for your money because you reach your best prospects.
Maybe the “value” of the USA Today article is shown in the fact the paper can’t decide what to call it. The original printed headline said, “‘Anything good in the mail?’” The online version’s header reads, “Bell tolls for the U.S. Mail, as we know it.”
I don’t recommend the article to journalism majors since it’s a disjointed mix that doesn’t make a solid point. One good point that gets lost is the paragraph speaking about non-profits that says, “mail is still the best way for such organizations to reach supporters.”
Mail is still the best way for marketers to target consumers, too, but don’t expect a lightweight piece in USA Today to point that out. But as the article notes, mail is still the best way to reach people in all communities, rural or cosmopolitan, whether they have online access or not, watch TV or not — read a newspaper or not.
It’s disappointing that reporters always think it’s necessary to quote some disgruntled individual who makes nasty comments about ad mail, like one guy quoted in the article who claims he keeps a paper shredder near his mailbox for unsolicited mail. Yeah, right. Another guy claims to keep a trashcan next to the mailbox. I’m sure none of his neighbors reported him to the police for creating an eyesore. As one of my colleagues said about those quotes, “Liars.”
If these people who claim to be staunchly anti-mail actually exist, you’re probably not mailing to them anyway. They should have signed up for the do-not-mail registry (unless they’re as ignorant as their quotes sound.)
Most people still give their attention to what arrives in their mailboxes, whether it’s a greeting card, personal letter, a bill, or direct mail. We all handle our mail. Look it over. See what looks interesting. As a consumer, I react to advertising that targets my interests, just as I’m sure you do.
Your direct mail won’t entice 100% of the people. But by targeting the right neighborhoods and mailing on a regular schedule, you very likely reach individual consumers when it’s the right time for them to take you up on your offer. Mail is also less expensive than other, less reliable media, and it tracks results.
Those are some differences between USA Today‘s “junk mail” and the time-proven strategy of direct mail.
Don’t believe everything you read in the newspaper.