and watch your response rate hit double digits.
In fall of 2001, Direct Mail Success, lead article was simply, “Plug into the direct marketing mail machine.” Here is a version of this article. As you read there are certain elements that have or will occur in 2017.
Think of direct marketing and mail as a machine.
The machine manufactures sales, inquires, responses, orders, inbound contacts, qualified prospects, customers and so on.
It’s not a complicated machine. As a matter of fact, it’s quite simple and efficient. At one end, you load in your sales goals, marketing knowledge, competitive data and experience. Then, at various points along the way, you add an appropriate mixture of design, copywriting, headlines and various hardware technologies ranging from folding, inserting, inkjet addressing and carrier route sorting to personalized addressing and data processing.
Turn it on!
When you flip the switch to on, the machine churns a bit and begins to manufacture things called “responses.”
Like any other machine, it’s not perfect, but it will be in the future. Sometimes, it seems a little hard to start. At other times, it seems to run a bit bumpy – to need some fine tuning. However, once it is up and running, it will work reliably for a long time – manufacturing responses until, for whatever reason, you press the stop button.
When well maintained…
The direct marketing and mail machine did a consistently predictable job. In fact, the more use of the machine, the more it remained in tune, humming along, manufacturing one response after the next.
And talk about reliability. It’s downright amazing. When you use the machine for direct marketing and mail, every week, it produced a predictable number of responses every week.
When you use the machine for direct marketing and mail every month, it produced a predictable response every month.
When the article was written, direct marketing and direct mail was used as an advertising system by literally every small and large company. In fact, it produced the largest volume of mail ever sent. Now direct mail is a channel of communication used in conjunction with other advertising channels, better known as multi-channel communication.
A great name for the direct marketing mail machine of today would be a combination of the strategies of direct and customer-centric marketing. Best known by our group as “Direct-to-Customer Marketing.”
Back to 2016.
What we have now. Machine wise, there is presently a variety of machines in automation and processing used by direct mail processors. When the mail is turned over to the United States Postal Service, there is a variety of mechanization, such as parcel sorting, optical character reader (OCR), and someone named MERLIN to get the mail delivered to the right address and the right person.
What we presently have for better response.
Let’s look at the following graphic. Surrounded by a multitude of people are two strategies highly touted by many marketing experts. Direct marketing and customer centric-marketing. The strategies guide us to learn as much as possible about customers and what information you can get from prospects.
A word of caution. When there is a break in the machine, such as when the collected data is not correctly processed and/or not added into a CRM or marketing automation, expect a poor response. For example, if there were originally 500 customers in this picture, you may have 500 people each preferring something different. Tedious maybe. However, good data brings good results.
Moving to the next illustration.
The next Infographic, what we call 4by4 Communicate, is a good example of today’s direct marketing platform.
Please note that the re-appearance of direct marketing and customer-centric marketing strategies. They are noted for the relentless pursuit of prospect and customer data. What do we see in the middle circle? The oil keeping both strategies running at full speed – Data Management. Simply, this is comprised of analytics for learning a customer journey and using what you learn from the data for better personalization directly back to the customer.
In addition, there are the communication channels of direct mail, email, landing pages to capture more information and social media. Use the channels of communication preferred by the customer.
Finally, the schematic, of the present machine.
As you build your machine, customer data is always changing, because customers change their preferences more frequently. Direct marketing alerts us. Customer-centric marketing will tell us if the customers communication channel change, the customer has altered the product needs or even uses the product in a rather unique way.
As you travel down a better marketing path, you will learn what works well for your company. You live it and learn. Change is always in the air. When you and your company use change to your advantage, marketing is fun again.
That, more than anything else, will always keep us marketers on our toes and ready to react, to help, whatever the customer needs from us.
Learning and Coaching – It’s what I do.
Want to learn more about direct and customer-centric marketing strategies and how it can add customers to your QuickBooks?
I call this learning experience, “All Marketing is Direct to your Consumers.” I present my marketing methodology that I have used over my career. On the landing page, there is a (1)short, (2)medium and (3)large journey to take. There are many examples, ideas and techniques of the direct marketing to aide in your learning. To feel the full impact of this marketing methodology, take each journey in order. Start now by clicking on the Admit, Journey One. Then send me an email or call (800-251-3608) with your questions. Be sure to ask how to get your present marketing evaluated for free!
We’ll examine your present marketing, learn your goals and aspirations, and prepare a marketing plan for your company based on your information. Check it out today!
Thanks for reading. I hope to see you on a journey.
Mike Deuerling. aka: MarketingDoc
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