In a January 12, 2010 article in the Wall Street Journal, direct mail was touted as being key to winning customers. The article, titled Firms Hold Fast to Snail Mail Marketing, gave a couple of interesting examples.
The first was a New York company that decided to cut costs and cease their yearly direct mail campaign in favor of email marketing to promote a discount on early orders of their product line. They saw a 25% drop in orders and only recouped them after they quickly went back to direct mail.
The article continues to state that some businesses who were quick to write off direct mail in favor of lower cost email marketing found it hard to dismiss.
Also included was the story of an insurance company in California that decided to stop sending out humorous post cards every 4 to 6 weeks and immediately started receiving complaints. When visiting clients, they often found the post cards hanging on the wall.
While you cannot dismiss the expense of direct mail, you also have to consider the results. A 2009 Marketing Method Preference Study found both young and old are still very influenced by direct mail for the purchase of an item or service. 76% of internet users surveyed say they were directly influenced to purchase an item or a service thanks to a direct mail piece; TV came in second at 67% and email third at 58%. Only 8 % said they were influenced by Social Media.
While mail is still expensive, there are things that can be done to save cost by making production efficient. Also, a good mailing list is also important to make sure your mail is delivered to a person who is a viable prospect to buy from you. A bad address or prospect increases costs in both print production and postage.
While costs are always something to watch, results are what should drive a marketing campaign. If a mailing costs $2000 and generates $3000 in sales, that is a good result. However, if a $3000 mailing can generate $10,000 in sales by using a better list and being more creative with the presentation, does it really matter that there is an extra $1000 in cost?
The effectiveness of direct mail as part of a well-rounded marketing program is an important part of any company or organization’s marketing mix.