Thursday, April 30, 2009

Why do I like direct mail?

As a marketer, I like direct mail because it is a proven marketing technique that’s been around for years. Yes, it’s a bit old fashioned. But that’s not always a bad thing. You can get hurt on a cutting edge. It’s all perspective.

I like the
preparation and planning that goes into a mailing. The thousand and one decisions that can make or break the campaign. The copy. The graphics. List segmentation. Proofs and press checks. Deadlines and re-dos. The stress and the pressure. The teamwork. And the feeling when it’s all over that “We got it right.”

If, as my wise Grandmother used to say, “Anticipation is half the fun of getting there” then that time waiting for the mail to hit is indeed a delicious pins-and-needles pleasure. But much like Alaskans who wager on the day and hour when the frozen river will break up in spring, we wait anxiously for the day when the mail hits.

Watching early returns come in is like a game of expanding geography. First the areas closest to our mailing point come in, then spreading farther afield, moving from East Coast to West Coast in a predictable pattern validating our pre-launch planning.

As a user of direct mail, I know it works. I see
responses come in, building housefiles, making sales and providing information we can use to make our next campaign even better. Every response is validates the planning process and ultimate execution. Our team rocks!

I value how targetable direct marketing is. I know that by pinpointing our message to each audience in our universe, we can make our approach more personal and generate more response. Manipulative? Maybe a little. Marketing magic? Absolutely!

I appreciate how statistically quantifiable direct mail marketing is. No other media allows us to know exactly how many people received our message, how many opted to respond, and at what level of commitment. It proffers verifiable, concrete proof of performance.

On the other hand, as a recipient, I like direct mail because it lets me choose who/what to let into my home, my head, my wallet. It’s polite and gracious, allowing me to respond as I deem appropriate.
I like direct mail for its “keeper” value. I can act on it immediately, or I can store it away for action later. I go back to it when or if I want to, on my time, at my convenience. I keep catalogs so I can see fashion trends on the horizon—and confirm just how truly hopeless I am.

I like direct mail because it has tactile value. I can hold it in my hand. It has physical heft and reality.

I like direct mail because it has a wonderful freshly printed smell that is faintly reminiscent of my Father’s beloved workshop.

My bottom line: I like direct mail because it works. On so many levels.

Need help with your direct mail marketing? Consult a professional like Paul&Partners. We’ll help you navigate the postal regulations to ensure you get the best postage rate available to you. We’ll help you
design a package that is the right one for you and your budget.

Check us out at Let us know how we can help make your next marketing program more successful.

43670 Trade Center Place, Suite 150, Dulles, VA 20166
Phone: 703.996.0800 Fax: 703.996.0888 1.866.365.2858

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