Are You Tiring Your Customers Out? Direct Mail Fatigue and Other Challenges


Are-You-Tiring-Your-Customers-Out_-Direct-Mail-Fatigue-and-Other-ChallengesThe moments of truth. That split second when your customer chooses to dump your direct mail item instead of opening it.

It’s a moment you can never get back, and yet it happens all the time, every day. Why? Because there are challenges facing direct mail campaigns that we often fail to recognize.

We get so caught up in the execution of a campaign, we don’t often stop to analyze, measure and track the results to see if it’s actually working. Here are some of the top challenges that you should watch out for:

Message Fatigue

You’re sending out mailings every month, perhaps included with your client statements. That’s not too often, right? You could still be wrong! “Message fatigue” is created not by the frequency of your direct mail but by the perceived frequency, according to research findings published in the U.S. Journal of Advertising. Remember too that it’s not just the frequency that counts, either; you’re competing with every other vendor and retailer who targets the same audience as you do. Even if you already have a relationship with your customer you may be competing with random voices, internal and external.

How to avoid this: Keeping your communications relevant seems to be the secret to avoiding message fatigue. In fact, researchers found that marketers can actually increase the frequency of mailings as long as they remain relevant to the needs of the customer.


Speaking of staying relevant, the challenge to do so doesn’t only apply to the frequency of your mailings. Once your direct mail gets seen as junk it becomes irrelevant to the recipient. Sending anything that’s addressed to “the occupant” or “our customers” is bound to get slammed with this label, and then you’re dead in the water, figuratively speaking. With more than a billion unaddressed mailings going out each month, the consumer has more than enough impersonal junk to deal with.

How to avoid this: Personalization is key to maintaining the connection with your clients and avoiding being viewed as junk. Don’t just send every mailing to your entire list. Use the data you have to segment your target market as closely as possible and then send personally addressed mails whenever you can.

Analysis Paralysis

We mentioned above about using the data you have to segment your market. Well, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. The reality about data is that it’s often all over the place, and gathering usable information together isn’t an exact science. Analysis paralysis occurs when you get so overwhelmed by all the data that you have difficulty discerning the right info to rally together.

How to avoid this: Set realistic goals for each direct mail campaign before you begin. Identify the data set that offers the closest match for your primary objective and get it done. Forget the rest, or use it for another campaign, some other time.

Don’t wait for those moments of truth to hit your direct mail recipients. Act now to improve the quality of your campaigns and you can avoid becoming an irrelevant, junk mail sender.

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