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August 20, 2010

Is Direct Mail Really Dead?

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Even with sky high postage costs, a properly executed direct mail campaign still provides a solid ROI. What? You’ve bought into the myth that direct mail is dead?

You’re not alone. And while people are entitled to their own opinions about direct mail, they’re not entitled to their own facts. Here are the facts: According to an annual study from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), spending on direct mail marketing is expected to increase by more than $1 billion in 2010. Yes, that’s billion with a “B”. Hmmmm…it would appear that rumors of direct mail’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Don’t People Hate Junk Mail?

And if you’ve also bought into the myth that people hate junk mail (and that’s exactly what it is a myth), here are the myth-busting facts: According to the 2010 DMA Statistical Fact Book, 79% of households either read or skim junk mail advertising sent to their home.

That study is right in line with an International Communications Research survey commissioned by postal automation giant, Pitney Bowes. The survey found, despite the immense popularity, and widespread use of digital media, consumers still prefer mail over e-mail, as it relates to receiving new product announcements, as well as confidential business communications such as bank statements and other financial information.

Here’s how the numbers breakdown: 73 percent of consumers prefer mail for receiving new product announcements or offers from companies they do business with, as compared to 18 percent for e-mail.

For important and confidential communications such as bills, bank statements and other financial information, a huge majority of respondents (86 percent)preferred mail as their communication method of choice, as compared with 10 percent for e-mail.

But wait, the news gets even better: The survey also found that 31 percent of consumers are less likely to discard unopened mail – including new product announcements, coupons, brochures, catalogs, etc. – than they are to delete unsolicited e-mails (spam) regarding new product announcements (53.2 percent).

When consumers were asked what specific advantages they saw in junk mail versus unsolicited e-mail and telemarketing calls, 45.3 percent of respondents found mail to be, get this – less intrusive; (40.2) percent more convenient – can be saved and considered at leisure; (30.2) less high-pressured – lets you consider your decision; (22.7 percent)more descriptive – lets you picture the offer; and (12 percent)more persuasive – encourages you to respond. I don’t know about you, but those numbers definitely got my attention.

What is Cooperative Direct Mail?

If you haven’t considered trying direct mail, maybe you should. A properly executed direct mail campaign combined with online marketing methods could be an unbeatable combination. Don’t know where to start? No problem. Cooperative direct mail companies like Valpak and Clipper Magazine make launching a direct mail campaign easy and affordable, for even the most budget conscious small business.

So what exactly is cooperative direct mail? Cooperative direct mail simply means you share an envelope with other advertisers – mostly local merchants, but usually a couple of national companies as well. Sharing an envelope with other advertisers reduces your costs significantly.

For example, if you were to do a mailing on your own to 10,000 homes, it would cost you thousands of dollars – even at reduced bulk rate postage costs. However, that same mailing shared with other advertisers would only cost you a few hundred dollars. That’s a huge difference that allows you to free up valuable marketing dollars that can be used elsewhere.

And if you’re a “push the envelope” type of marketer and really want to take your direct mail campaign to the next level, a new company named Dukky (pronounced ducky) is merging “junk mail” with social marketing and web technology – creating an amazingly effective and powerful marketing combination. Dukky’s web address is www.dukky.com.

In closing, if you do decide to give direct mail a try, whatever you do, don’t approach the process blindly. In order to utilize direct mail to its optimum effectiveness, you need to know what you’re doing.

In that regard, I highly recommend you purchase the book Million Dollar Mailing$ by the undisputed King of direct mail, Denny Hatch.

Just remember:

“You will go only as far as the limits of your knowledge. If you want to go farther, increase your knowledge.” – David Jackson


David Jackson is a marketing consultant, and the owner of Free-Marketing-Tips-Blog.com – Free, common sense marketing tips to help grow your business. free-marketing-tips-blog.com

4 Responses to “Is Direct Mail Really Dead?

    Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

    This is not the first time that I read about how companies will increase their budget on mail marketing for this or next year but I do not believe that it is the right thing to do, even in this article wich is well written we can see that Mr. Jackson writes “…direct mail campaign still provides a solid ROI.” but I cannot see anywhere in the article a chart stating that this ROI is real or even if it is profitable. The ROI is the ONLY important parameter and it is absent.

    One more thing, I do not agree with Mr. Jackson about “…If you want to go farther, increase your knowledge.”, I think that if you want to get farther you need to increase your IMAGINATION.

    avatar Anon Aerospace says:

    And these scumball spammers still get a free ride. Let me explain with an analogy. Take your protein pill and put your helmet on for this…

    OF, let’s say I run “Anon Aerospace and have a rocket that’ll put 1,000 pounds into orbit and costs me $50 million. I charge NASA $25 million to put a 100 pound probe up there and charge by the pound. I give Comcast a sweeeeet deal of $25 million for any ol’ payload up to 900 pounds – which they fully use. Now, thanks to banks, there is a 3 month delay in the launch date, so NASA takes back the 100 pound probe. The day before blastoff, NASA brings back a 50 pound probe that does more. (Those JPL guys are good) I weigh it, put it in the rocket and swipe the Nasa VISA Plutonium Card charging them $12.5 million.

    Oops!. I have only $37.5 million! I can pay for the rocket but not the gas! (gas prices don’t help!) There is going to be one pissed off bank as you can’t repo a used rocket.

    So, who’s subsidizing who?

    Dear “Direct Mail”. Try telling your tripe to the average letter carrier! Junk mailers get a sweet deal on the backs of ordinary customers as well as letter carriers. Cry me a river of gasoline. My car can use it.

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