Tag Archives: direct marketing

Direct mail’s death by email

The latest reports on direct mail show that it’s doomed, eternally doomed.

What’s to blame for direct mail’s sad demise? Email and online coupons.

“The kudzu-like creep of the Internet is about to claim its third analog victim,” according to the latest research report from research firm Borrell Associates.

“Direct mail has begun spiraling into what we believe is a precipitous decline from which it will never fully recover,” Borrell predicts. More specifically, it is projecting a 39% decline for direct mail over the next five years, from $49.7 billion in annual ad spending in 2008 to $29.8 billion by the end of 2013. (MediaPost)

If Borrell’s predictions pan out, direct mail will no longer be the top placeholder for ad revenue and will fall to the fourth spot. The leaders will then be the Web, broadcast TV and newspapers.

“Email advertising is indeed skyrocketing while its traditional counterpart plummets,” Borrell notes. “In fact, last year, email advertising quietly moved to the No. 1 online ad category spot, surpassing all other forms of interactive advertising.” Last year, advertisers spent $12.1 billion on email marketing, more than they spent on display/banner advertising or search advertising.

The firm is also forecasting that most of the growth in email marketing will be local. Borrell expects local email advertising to grow from $848 million in 2008, to an estimated $2 billion in 2013.

However, the report also warns against jumping into email marketing without being prepared for potential risks.

“Managing large e-mail marketing campaigns require database marketing expertise, a savvy sales force, adequate e-mail management software, familiarity with the rules and regulations and a lot of patience.”

Taking direct marketing back to the future

While many marketers continue their search for the next-best, latest-and-greatest media tactic to get the word out about their product or service, others are holding their ground and staying true to traditional methods.

Direct marketing is making a comeback and now considered the “new black” in the marketing world, despite the opportunity new marketing methods like social media may bring to the table.

In a recent column at BtoB Magazine, Scott Hornstein, president of marketing, Hornstein Associates, and CMO, Wired Assets Data Corp., shares his expert insight as to why you should be putting what’s left of your budget into direct marketing.

“These are the times that try marketers’ souls. On the other hand, this is not the time to hide or be timid. It is the time to be effective, and to redeploy the majority of what’s left of your marketing budget into direct marketing for one very good reason: The strategy is, at its core, measurable and ROI-driven.”

He says there are six critical factors that will lead to direct marketing success:

  1. Integrating direct marketing into your overall media mix. Your customers don’t all hang out in the same place, so reinforce your message across a variety of media tools.
  2. Integrating a healthy dose of customer care. “Our carefully crafted brands can be blown up in three minutes of poor customer care.”
  3. Invest in database quality. The success of your marketing is only as good as your list.
  4. Account for everything, but report only key metrics. Pay attention to what matters most.
  5. Measure performance and set aggressive standards. “Each direct marketing effort should achieve at least a 10% response rate.”
  6. Measure the expense to revenue ratio. If it’s over 25% you’re spending too much, go back and fix your process.

What do you think? Should we take another look at the tried-and-true marketing methods like direct marketing because they are so measurable and ROI-driven? Are economic tough times forcing your organization to trend this way?

Please leave a comment and let us know.

Stop wasting marketing dollars and start getting creative

To get a clear picture of how much money marketers waste each week all most people have to do is simply take out the trash.

Every week marketers send out thousands upon thousands of pieces of direct mail. If they’re lucky, some will get a quick second look by their recipients before they end up in the garbage or recycling bin. Along with the money, marketers time and effort are also being taken out with the trash.

When most people find direct mail in their inboxes, the immediately classify it as “junk” and quickly dispose of it. To really catch your audience’s attention, you have to find a creative way to get noticed and make people take a second look.

Because we all receive multiple pieces of junk mail daily, it takes a truly creative approach to stand out from the crowd. Will V. at The Better Response Blog recently tacked the issue and shared some ingenious examples of direct marketing that isn’t a waste of money.

Two dollar bill DM campaign, The Better Response Blog

Two dollar bill DM campaign, The Better Response Blog

The first example is of a piece by the Seattle Art Museum to promote the Life Liberty and Pusuit of Happiness exhibit. The marketing piece took the form of a two dollar bill, something most people don’t see everyday. Will admitted he’d likely read it before throwing it away. At least it’s a step up from landing directly in the trash, without so much as a slight glance.

“The point I am trying to make is we should always try to create a piece that no one else is creating. Part of marketing is to stand out and not be typical. Being typical will not catch any attention and is a waste of money. This may be a thought that is always in the back of our minds, but we don’t always factor it into our marketing initiatives,” Will says.

Will showed another good example of a direct mail campaign that not only stood out from the crowd, but was “highly personalized.” As part of a sensory-based direct mail campaign, Proximity London crafted a letter made entirely out of chocolate. Yes, real chocolate.

I don’t know about you, but receiving a chocolate letter in the mail would catch my attention close to 100% of the time. Before I devoured it, you could bet that I would also be spreading the message and showing the piece to everyone in the office.

We’re not expecting you to go out and print your next direct mail piece on chocolate, but if you do just make sure I’m on the mailing list. What we’re saying is that it’s time to start getting really creative with your marketing.

“Do not send out postcards because your competitors are sending out postcards. Send out something you know your competitors will not be sending out. Remember, you are not just competing with your competitors’ pieces, but with the 50 gazillion other pieces who are not even from the same industry,” Will adds.

Ask yourself truthfully if you would stop and read what your company is mailing out. If you think it’s going to land in the trash, it’s time to rethink your idea. Stop wasting your marketing dollars and start grabbing people’s attention.

What creative techniques have you used recently in your marketing to grab your audience’s attention? Or, have you been the recipient of a cool piece of direct marketing? Let us know about it …