Direct Mail is Alive and Well
It is now the digital age and just as Cell Phones have killed Pay Phones; Email Marketing is killing direct mail services, right. WRONG! Despite what many would have us believe, the Direct Mail Industry is not only doing well but is once again growing both in popularity and effectiveness.
It is true that for a period of time in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s consumer direct marketing, using postal mailings did loose ground as masses of people jumped on the digital band wagon. This is not an unusual phenomenon as it is part of human nature to gravitate towards the latest and greatest for an initial period of time.
You can easily see this by observing recent history. Radio was supposed to have killed newspapers; television heralded the end of radio and the internet was the demise of everything that came before it including direct mail services. Strangely despite all the dire predictions all of these industries are still with us and are viable as part of a well rounded retail marketing campaign. In fact IBIS World stated that retail marketing through the use of direct mail services is expected to grow at a rate of 1.4% per year becoming a 13.8 billion dollar industry by 2016.
Who Uses Direct Mail Services
You may be surprised at some of the companies who use direct mail services as part of their retail marketing campaigns. Each of these was chosen, as examples because they are a leader in their industry and each can teach us lessons on how to do consumer direct marketing correctly.
You may find this odd but one of the biggest users of consumer direct marketing in the world is the tech giant Google.
Lessons from Google: Google uses well targeted direct mailings and keeps careful track of their results. They keep mailings to a minimum and do their best to assure potential clients only receive relevant information.
Meade Johnson is the company that produces Enfamil baby formula as well as a host of other household products. They distribute coupon as well helpful hints for new parents by direct mail.
Lessons from Meade Johnson: Meade Johnson realizes that new parents have little free time to surf the internet and that consumer direct marketing is more effective for their products. They give provide quality information that can be used by their target audience.
You know who Tylenol is, the largest pain reliever company in North America. They use a very comprehensive system for their retail marketing that includes some interest add-ons.
Lessons from Tylenol: Tylenol not only uses direct mail services for coupons but send out single dose (Pocket Pack) samples to consumers for opting in to their mailing list. Beyond this the company also makes these Pocket Packs available to other companies to use in their consumer direct marketing efforts.
Tylenol gets free exposure and the other companies get a great guarantee that their mailings will not be discarded with out being looked at. Who would throw away free medicine?
Some of the other names, you might recognize, who still make great use of direct mail services would include Burger King, National Geographic Channel, Botanic Choice and yes, the United States and Canadian Postal Services.
While each of these operates in different industry, there are some traits that each of their consumer direct marketing campaigns have in common and that you can use in your own direct mail efforts.
The two key traits that each possesses are,
- Targeted Content relative to the consumer
- Offering something of value, more than just another special offer (Products, tips, information)
Companies like those listed in this article have massive amounts of money to spend on marketing. They also have mounds of money to spend on marketing research to tell them how to, most effectively, spend their budgets. The fact that they put an emphasis on direct mail services is a testament to its effectiveness. It is not hard to get your own consumer direct marketing campaign started.