Direct Mail has been around for a long time. As a matter of fact, the earliest known form of direct marketing occurred in Egypt in 1000 BC, when a landowner wrote an advertisement on a piece of papyrus offering gold for the return of his slave. (We can quibble over whether that was actually direct mail, since mail didn’t exist in it’s current form then—but that’s really just water under the Nile bridge.)
The point is that direct mail has long been regarded as an effective way to reach potential audiences. In our days of “It’s-new-therefore-it-must-be better” marketing, some have kicked direct mail to the curb. Some of that action has taken place because of some misconceptions about modern marketing. Let’s look at four of those misconceptions.
1. It’s Fast
This is partially true. It’s possible to make changes to your online marketing efforts on the fly. That’s a good thing. Sometimes you need to be able to react to changing events. But a really good online marketing strategy takes time to think through. You still need to go through the discipline of identifying your audience and crafting a message that reaches them and moves them to respond (Just like direct mail).
2. It’s Cheap
Again, this is true in part. You can play around with graphics and copy and offers on your website without incurring a lot of cost. But to do it well requires the right knowledge, experience, and sometimes software. Those things aren’t free. Without them, however, the quality of your messaging will suffer. (Bad direct mail doesn’t work, either!)
3. You Only Need to Do One Thing
A lot of companies today tend to adopt a single approach. They’re going to use Facebook, or Twitter, or Tumbler, or Pinterest, or Google+, or their website for their marketing. Some companies go a little broader and say that they will employ social media in general. All of those things do actually work, but not everyone is on the same platform. And some people still respond better to offline efforts. And if you’re relying on your website exclusively, how are you getting people to your site? (Hint: Direct mail can be a big help).
4. It’s Automatic
There’s a misconception that once your message is out there, it’s there for good. Again, that’s partially true—but the bigger reality is that your message will get buried. So much new content is showing up on the Web all the time that your message will sink unless you have something that draws viewers to it.
The reality of modern marketing today is that it takes some time, requires some investment, needs integration of multiple methods to be effective, and needs to be monitored (Yes, you can automate certain functions, but somebody has to be paying attention to what’s going on.
Direct mail is still a powerful marketing tool (if it’s done properly) and it should be part of your marketing mix. If you want to find out how to combine your direct mail campaigns with a multi-channel approach to create an integrated marketing message your buyer simply can’t ignore, download our free Best Direct Mail Practices in an Evolving Marketplace eBook.
Marketing has evolved since the days of the Egyptians, but that doesn’t mean you should dump your direct mail efforts. Instead, take a look at integrating them with the other things you’re doing.