You may have heard that direct mail marketing is dead. Of course you may have also heard that the Internet is dead—and that Elvis is still alive. What’s a marketer to believe?
Apparently, someone forgot to tell the people that are still sending and receiving direct mail about this untimely demise. As a matter of fact, according to a forecast released in January 2011 by the marketing consultancy, Winterberry Group, direct mail spending will grow 5.8 percent to $47.8 Billion this year.1
That doesn’t sound like a death rattle. Let’s be honest, though. Direct mail spending did decline in 2007 through 2009. And the overall volume of mail is down dramatically. But a lot of that drop in volume is in first class mail. People aren’t writing as many letters and they are also paying their bills online. But some companies are still using direct mail very effectively—because it still works.
Marketers need to remember that they are not in an “either/or” situation. If you’re using online methods to market your company’s goods and services that doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) use direct mail in conjunction with your online efforts. But you need to be smart about it. You probably can’t afford to prospect broadly with direct mail—it’s too expensive. But you can use it in concert with your other marketing methods. And you should be using it to drive traffic back to your website (and to specific landing pages).
Still, when you go to your mailbox, it’s not as full as it used to be. But is that bad news or good news for marketers? It used to be that your direct mail piece had to fight for attention with a mailbox full of mail. Now, it’s easier to stand out and command attention—especially if your mail is properly targeted and well thought out.
The days of mass mailing to unqualified lists are over. But direct mail can still be a powerful marketing tool when you do it right and tie it in to your online efforts.
Have you gotten anything cool in your mailbox lately?
1 Carol Krol , Direct Marketing News February 1, 2011