Digital Marketing Direct mail Direct Marketing Multi-Channel Communications

Why use “direct mail basics”

and avoid “disruption” in your marketing activities.

The name junk mail implied that the receiver of junk mail did not request it. However, companies kept on mailing junk infesting everyone’s mail box about a decade ago.

The US postal service made a lot of money. The largest mail volume for first class mail, was in 2001, when 103,656 mail pieces (to the nearest million) were mailed.

Direct Mail was affordable and some companies had a two-percent open rate of all mail pieces mailed. Direct marketing and direct response craftsmen got people to responded to the offers and many made purchases. Why else would anyone with that low response keep mailing?


The word “Disruption” is a popular again in marketing activities.

The unwanted advertisements led to the regulations to curtail the flow of junk mail. As regulators often do, they added do-not-mail, do-not-fax, do-not-call and junk email, commonly known as spam.

Advertisements spewed all over the marketing landscape back in the day were a form of “disruption.” A lot of money was wasted on mail that apparently no one wanted. Spray-and-pray was another name for “disruptive advertising” using direct mail.

Junk mail was disruptive to many people having a mail box. Why did the mail volume shoot up so fast? Back then companies had to mail because “everyone” was “mailing.” In reality of the junk mailing being disruptive, it also was a reactive form of marketing.

The “disruptive marketing” you read about today.

In a recent article in Click-Z (April 6th, 2016), Havas Media’s Tom Goodwin wrote in Tech Crunch 2015, the world’s most popular media company (Facebook) creates no content and the world’s most valuable retailer (Alibaba) has no inventory.

Goodwin’s passage, which also touched on Uber and Airbnb, went viral and spawned countless imitations, because it’s so true. Disruption is a huge part of today’s marketing landscape and you can’t talk about digital transformation, the unofficial theme of ClickZ Live New York, without bringing it up.

Some businesses, more than others, are venturing into digital marketing and social media. Disruption may well be the reason as companies look for other ways to keep their head above water.

Let us make horse sense about this form of disruption.

In the same session of ClickZ Live New York, a panel discussion entitled “To Disrupt or Be Disrupted? That Is the Reality” the first question posed to the panel was, “How do you identify business sectors ripe for disruption?”

Keith Grossman, head of sales, Americas, at Bloomberg LP, pointed out that just because something is disrupted doesn’t mean it’s dead. He used horses as an example.

“It’s really sexy to tell the story of the death of everything, but the reality is, things splinter. They don’t die; they work in conjunction with each other,” said Grossman. “People went across the country on horses, but then horses were disrupted when trains came around. This wasn’t the ‘death of horses.’ They became more localized and then cars came around.

“Horses didn’t go extinct,” he continued. “They were relegated to a different realm, for wealthy audiences or sport enthusiasts.”

Disruptive Definition by Greg Satall: “Why play by the rules when you can make new ones? While conventional marketing targets consumers, disruptive marketing creates them.  It’s exciting, very profitable and even one big success can make your career.  Nevertheless, most efforts go towards conventional marketing and with good reason. Knowing when to be conventional and when to be disruptive can make the difference between an innovative coup and a huge flameout.”

The Direct Mail Basics

NumberThreeSo, what about direct mail? People considered the jammed mailbox a nuisance and even considered a do not mail regulation for consumers. Even direct mail could be classified as a “disruption” when a letter addressed to a person that is no longer alive. Or misspelling a name trying personalization. Or landscaping offered to someone that lives in a condo or assisted living facility.

To give us some space between the two disruptive marketing activities, let’s call the former disruption with direct mail as reactionary marketing. Here are a few examples.

ChannelChangingAdvertising to the multitudes with the hope someone is listening, seeing or feeling is the apparent way to reach customers today. Do you love music but can’t stand listening to the radio? Try Pandora.

Do you like to watch a good drama on television? Probably not on network TV. There is roughly 40 minutes of drama and 20 minutes of commercials. Try Amazon or Netflix.

Direct mail today is an important marketing communication tool in company’s large and small. It is used with other traditional and digital media channels to increase customer connect points. The use of direct mail in multi-channel marketing campaigns has driven companies to use more of these campaigns. Increasing ROI and customer satisfaction are two that come to mind.

Direct mail has all the horses.

Cowboyv2Once a direct marketing and mail strategy is completed, each and every detail of the mailing occurs absolutely effortlessly. If the plan calls for mailing weekly, all the details to make it happen weekly are carefully followed. If your plan calls for fulfillment, each and every detail is meticulously followed.

It’s never a bad idea to periodically look at the direct marketing basics in direct mail and in many other forms of marketing communication, including digital. The marketing basics are there for a reason… they work. And they are critical elements to the success of your marketing and sales functions.

As the line between on and offline marketing keeps getting blurrier, it’s more important than ever to have a strong multichannel strategy. It’s impossible to avoid disruption, but that’s one way to avoid being completely swallowed by it.

Quick tip: Never under-estimate the value of a list containing your direct marketing contacts for any mailing assignment. Don’t wait until the last minute to update and clean the mailing list. The penalty in the cost of today’s postage will lower the ROI of any mailing. This is by far one of the most mistreated basics of direct mail – data must be recorded, analyzed, segmented and updated.

Great data management eliminates reactive advertising. Understanding and know what your customers prefer, whether they are channels, a marketing profile, DataManagementrelevant copy and a stay in touch frequency, is the key to direct and digital marketing.

Looking for more information on Direct Mail Marketing? Use the search feature on this blog. Please share with others, except of course, your competition.

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