In my regular blog series, I’m going through the alphabet with marketing principles that follow the a,b,c’s. Today, I’m talking about a tried and true method of communications that many companies have dropped from their marketing arsenal – Direct Mail.
The other day, we received a nice thank you note in the mail from my dad. We celebrated his birthday a couple of weeks ago and he always responds with his appreciation. It’s a great life lesson. What hit home for me though is how little mail we get anymore (other than the tons of magazines we get from Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, etc). More about that later.
Marketers have redirected their efforts away from direct mail and into less expensive, faster, electronic, contact. We’ve done the same thing. I think this paradigm shift presents an excellent opportunity for those companies who have the flexibility and resources to start doing direct mail again.
At work, I hardly get any mail at all anymore. I do get tons of emails, many of which go unopened or have the potential to get lost in the sea of sameness. Mail is different. It’s now special, because you get less of it. It can look like whatever you want it to, versus a line listing on your Google mail page. It can be small, large, colorful or plain. It can be you.
Don’t get me wrong. Email marketing is not going away, and it shouldn’t it. It’s a far too valuable tool in the marketing toolkit. But if you want to stand out from the competition and position yourself in whatever way you choose, direct mail is a great way to do it. It is expensive, but what marketing isn’t? And it is effective. Why else would some of the most successful retail operations in the world use it on a regular basis? Because it works.
Direct mail can be an ongoing way to stay in front of your targets or a once in a while way to make something happen, like spur sales. It can compliment whatever else you’re doing (ie. Integrated marketing). It can be tracked. It can be measured.
The next time you review your marketing plan, think about direct mail and how it could make sense to get your message out. Look at the mail you got today. It probably stood out. You can too. Are you using direct mail in your marketing program? How effective is it for you?