Archive for the ‘Direct Marketing’ Category

A fresh look at Direct Mail

Friday, October 16th, 2009

I have completely lost my sense of coherency in regard to what I thought I knew about direct marketing.  Only thirty days ago, I would head out to the mailbox, and while on autopilot, rifle through my daily mail. While folks in the direct mail marketing industry call this the “mail moment,” I still think this describes an activity more consciously engaged than I practiced.  After shredding my monthly airline miles credit card offers, the wife and I would work our way through the rest of the mail.  Off the top of my head, we’ve found several excellent restaurants, our furnace inspection and repair company, and after judging the condition of my lawn this fall, our lawn care service for 2010.  I’ve been convinced to visit my favorite technology and hardware discount stores when I’ve not needed anything, and taken advantage of a myriad of other coupons and offers.  However, if you had asked me a month ago, I would have said something to the effect of, “I don’t really look at my junk mail.”  Evidently, I now realize this has never been true and I’ve learned not to call it junk mail.

That change happened after I joined the Lorton Data team in September.  In a month, I have received an intensive crash course in direct marketing and contact data management.  This has been enlightening after leaving an industry focused on brand awareness, long PowerPoint presentations, and complex rebate plans to drive sales.  Most importantly, I’ve also learned that direct mail is not dead.  While there has been a decline in the total annual volume of direct mail, a unique space has opened up for well thought out direct mail campaigns.  In other words, a good direct mail piece can get more attention with less mailbox competition.

As part of my training, I’ve been encouraged to read as much industry and marketing news as I can handle.  I came across an interesting discussion from January of this year: “A Message for the Post Office: Direct Mail Is Dying.” I call this a discussion rather than a post since the most engaging part is the commentary.  HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Team argues their marketing competition, direct mail, is dead and urges the USPS to get out of the direct mail business.  What is really interesting is the well thought out discussion in the comments section.  There are a lot of companies engaged in social media and internet marketing that aren’t ready to kick direct mail out of their marketing tool box.  Each aspect of marketing to your customers should be considered when planning a campaign.

As I continue to gain experience and knowledge of the direct marketing industry, I hope to provide actual insight on how to improve direct marketing experiences.  Or, at minimum, provide some entertainment as I struggle to develop coherence in a new-to-me method of marketing.


There’s no such thing as junk mail – part two?

Friday, October 16th, 2009

As I was preparing to write the follow up to my earlier post There’s no such thing as junk mail, I learned that one of our recently hired Account Reps had drafted his own post on the topic. Previewing his forthcoming contribution, I decided to scrap my follow up and to let his “conversion story” drive home the point. Watch for Joel’s post.


There’s no such thing as junk mail…

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Try this experiment. Walk up to any group of people who don’t work in the world of direct marketing and attempt to complete this sentence: “There is no such thing as junk mail, only misdirected information.” If you get past the comma’s pause in this phrase, without being interrupted, there’s a good chance that nobody’s listening to you. I’ve tried this myself. On the rare occasion that I’ve gotten the whole sentence out before being verbally accosted, I still had to contend with looks that conveyed something like “are you for real?”

More often I use this phrase to educate those outside our industry. It happens something like this. Attending a gathering where people are getting to know one another, business or otherwise, the inevitable question is asked: So, what do you do? I work with a company that supports the direct marketing industry by providing address hygiene, enhanced contact information, and other data management services. Huh? Well, our company helps anyone who wants to deliver a message to a particular audience reach that audience with greater accuracy and in the most cost effective manner possible. Hmmm… can you give me an example? Well, a simple example might be the postcard you receive for a $16.95 oil change special at the service station near your home. Oh – you send out junk mail! Not exactly, you see we believe that “there is no such thing as junk mail, only misdirected information.”

With all of the forces at play in direct mail marketing today, from the green movement to the cost of print and postage, there’s every reason to expect that smart direct mail campaigns will employ every possible means to reduce or eliminate so called “junk mail.”  In my next post I’ll write more about how we can influence the perception, and the experience, of consumers who bristle at the suggestion that there is no such thing as junk mail.