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I 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.
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.
David Ogilvy is one of my heros. He explains the power of Direct Marketing. He also encourages general ad agencies to use DM to train their people. Much of what he hoped for has happened – so now everyone measures, everyone generates responses (at least clicks and likes) but much of the art of testing (and so the power) has been forgotten.
The WDMA is committed to showing how Direct Marketing applies to the media and methods of today’s marketers – without leaving the proven fundamental principles of scientific marketing.
The golden age of direct marketing has arrived. Nearly all advertising and sales are “interactive” and “measurable”. At the same time, attendance and enthusiasm for local and national direct marketing trade shows is almost dead compared to 20 years ago. (I wrote this article almost 20 years ago, as the Internet gurus claimed everything would change.)
Since 1968 the definition of direct marketing has been examined and refined. Here is a composite definition from 28 text books: “Direct marketing is a database-driven interactive process of directly communicating with targeted customers or prospects using any medium to obtain a measurable response or transaction via one or multiple channels.” (reconciled from 28 published textbook variations, Scovotti & Spiller) Continue reading “So You Think You’re Doing Direct Marketing?”
Several past Presidents of the WDMA board got together for the 30th anniversary meetup. We weren’t exactly sure what happened to the WDMA but around the turn of the millennium, we all started feeling pretty irrelevant. And if Direct Marketing is just about data & measurement, then anyone who can hook up Google Analytics is already doing it. Are we irrelevant?
This week I had a long conversation with someone involved with the original Direct Mail Advertising Association – which became the DMA in 1983 and now has been re-branded as the Data & Marketing Association. I guess its now just about data & marketing… ? Well here, we’re about Direct Marketing, the most powerful force in your advertising and sales arsenal. Continue reading “Welcome to the *NEW* WDMA”