Is It Old Fashioned if It Still Works? Carolyn Goodman still get a lot of sneers if I bring up the idea of direct mail to a client.

Comments range from “Does anybody still read that stuff?” to “Aren’t postage rates outrageous?” The simple answers are “yes” and “no.”

Let’s start with a few statistical facts (courtesy of the USPS Household Diary Study):

  • 42 percent of recipients read of scan direct mail pieces: That means that nearly HALF of your target audience is actually stopping, for a few seconds, to read your message. If you’ve designed it properly with a strong and relevant offer/call-to-action, you might achieve a 1 percent, 2 percent or even 14 percent response rate (yes, I’ve achieved that!). Digital ads, in comparison, are lucky if they get a 0.14 percent ad clickthrough rate — and then, once they get to the landing page, you’ll be lucky if you convert 2.35 percent.

I know the argument: Yes, but I’m exposing my digital banner message to millions of targets and it doesn’t cost me the same as direct mail does.

Let’s Do the Math

  • If you executed a direct mail campaign to 10,000 targets, and achieved a 1 percent response rate, you’d gain 100 customers.
  • To gain those same 100 customers, you’d have to run a banner ad that reached 3,035,700 targets (and let’s face it, you’re probably reaching a lot of non-targets in that number too).

The great thing about direct mail is that you can still rent or create a highly targeted list of prospects relatively inexpensively, as there is no wasted circulation. You’re only sending your message to prospects who meet your criteria — and therein lies the rub. Many companies aren’t clear exactly who they should be targeting, so they rent a list that is so broad that it has no chance of delivering a successful ROI.

Take a Bite Out of Postage Costs
If your only targeting criteria is to reach households who live in a specific zip code, or a specific neighborhood, you don’t even need to rent a list. The USPS offers a service called “Every Door Direct Mail.” By leveraging this new service, marketers can save thousands of dollars on postage — in fact, you can reach your 10,000 targets for as little of $0.29 per household.

Tactile, Targeted and Oh-So-Clever
Business-to-business marketers, who always benefit from targeting vertical market segments, should have a digital presence on sites where their known prospects visit — but have you looked at the overwhelming and competing messages on these sites lately? It seems you cannot even visit a site without being slapped in the face with an invasive pop-up ad, or flashing banner ad. Since 72 percent of Internet users say pop-ups are “very annoying,” and 49 percent find banner ads as annoying as pop-ups, your brand could probably benefit from moving into a distraction-free zone — which is what direct mail truly offers.

When direct mail arrives, your recipient must at least touch it — if only for a moment before recycling it — but if you’ve crafted a targeted and meaningful message, it will get opened. And that’s where many marketers fail. They don’t truly understand how to craft a direct mail piece that works.

Grabbing someone’s attention isn’t as simple as mailing a postcard — or a letter in an envelope. Although I’ve seen both of those tactics work when done intelligently. Three-dimensional packages can be an excellent way to get attention, especially if you’re selling something that’s expensive and your initial goal is to get an appointment for your sales force.

The Direct Marketing Association hosts an annual awards show (the ECHO’s) for excellence in direct response work. Take a gander at their case studies and study what works and, more importantly, why. Then tell me that direct mail doesn’t work.

Carolyn Goodman Author’s page A blog that challenges B-to-B marketers to learn, share, question, and focus on getting it right—the first time. Carolyn Goodman is President/Creative Director of Goodman Marketing Partners. An award-winning creative director, writer and in-demand speaker, Carolyn has spent her 30-year career helping both B-to-B and B-to-C clients cut through business challenges in order to deliver strategically sound, creatively brilliant marketing solutions that deliver on program objectives. To keep her mind sharp, Carolyn can be found most evenings in the boxing ring, practicing various combinations. You can find her at the Goodman Marketing website, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter @CarolynGoodman.

Morpheus says Direct Mail Works

The FUTURE of MARKETING – 2018 by John Miglautsch

100% Guaranteed predictions – and several other opinionated guesses. Sure to entertain and amaze your friends. Give you more to talk about at the water cooler.

My friend at Forrester said, ” nicely put together, good insights, and easy to follow.”

“John. I just watched the video and made a lot of notes in between laughing out loud. You’re hitting the nail on the head. People get so wrapped up in gazing into the Big Data crystal ball that they forget the basics.” Tech Target magazine columnist.

Would love to hear your thoughts on it.

A/B Testing – You’re Doing It Wrong – Justin Baker

How to effectively A/B test in a way that drives long-lasting results

So, your company wants to increase revenue and adoption by making some marketing site tweaks. They want more conversions, more clicks, more shares, and more users. What do they tell you to do first? Well, A/B test! Compare two versions of a page, define a key goal (ex. clicks), and see if you get more clicks. But, does this actually work? Is it really the approach you should take? Let’s look at the data.

By nature, an A/B test is an experiment that assesses multiple (often 2) versions of a feature or page relative to a defined metric.

This article focuses on superficial A/B tests — the testing of cosmetic changes that distract teams from delivering meaningful customer value.

Continue reading “A/B Testing – You’re Doing It Wrong – Justin Baker”

7 Rules for Marketing Testing Today – by Grant Johnson

During rough economic times, it’s easy for those who control the budget to say that if response rates are down, they don’t want to invest in testing—”You can’t spend money if you’re not making money.” To certain executives, this actually makes sense. But others, the wise ones, know that the time to spend more marketing dollars is when sales are down.

It’s true that there is a risk involved in testing new ideas in an effort to “beat the control” and increase response rates. Testing takes an investment in time and resources, often including additional funds. However, the outcome is often worth the risk.

You want to test, not only to increase your ROI, but also to learn. The more you know about what works the best, the better you can market to segments that emerge as your marketing programs evolve.

FREE – 5 Tips for Turning Your BIGdata into a Decision-Making Powerhouse

Continue reading “7 Rules for Marketing Testing Today – by Grant Johnson”

Loss Prevention: The Hidden Benefit of Split Testing

Author: Matt Beischel

Website optimization testing is becoming an increasingly common practice. It provides quantitative data that proves how making a change to your website will affect order conversion and revenue. I run a lot of tests across all my clients’ sites; my current average is around 400 a year. Collecting data from the past 3 years of testing, only 30% of those experiments were “wins” and positively affected revenue. If you flip that, then 70% of all tests run don’t provide a lift. That seems like a lot of wasted effort.

Continue reading “Loss Prevention: The Hidden Benefit of Split Testing”

Catalog Game Resurrected

In the Golden Age of Catalogs (80’s & 90’s) Catalog Age Mag commissioned Tracey Emerick and John Miglautsch to build the Catalog Management Institute.  The most popular part of that curriculum lives again!


Direct Mail Out Performs Digital

According to the Direct Mail Association (DMA), response rates took quite the jump in 2016 with a 5.3% response rate to house lists and 2.9% to prospect lists.  These are the highest levels the DMA has seen since 2003.

…due to the saturation of digital marketing in the age we are living in, direct mail response rates have flourished compared to their online counterparts. Continue reading “Direct Mail Out Performs Digital”