Questions about direct mail marketing persist

Direct mail marketing has been around for 150 years.

Direct mail marketing has has been around a long time, but it has evolved. You do things differently today compared to how you did them when you were younger. It is only natural that mail marketing has evolved.

One thing that has not changed is that direct mail marketing is fundamentally the same today as it was when it was first introduced. Businesses today are still sending out catalogs, postcards and letters, just as they did in the late 1800s. However, over the last decade or two, technology has caused businesses to make some significant changes in how they use mail marketing. And these changes have worked better for companies that embrace the concept and results they obtain from direct mail marketing.

Spray and pray gives way to zip codes

In the old days of direct mail marketing there were no techniques like personalization, rotating offers or target audiences that businesses could use to their advantage. There was only sending out your message to anyone and everyone. This approach was called, “spray and pray.” As much as businesses prayed, they paid too much for low response rates. What changed this blanket approach to direct mail marketing was the advent of zip codes. With them businesses could at least zero in a specific geographic location.

Mail_Marketing_MailerNext up, relational databases

Sending out mail to a specific location was well and good, but what about homing in on a target audience instead? That advancement in direct mail marketing came about in the 1980s when technology gave marketers the capability to create relational databases that allowed them to more finely target individuals.

Again, this was pretty good, especially when compared to “spray and pray” and zip codes, but it pales in comparison to what we have in our marketing toolkits today.

Technology is really taking over

Today, more and more businesses are adding personalized or generic URLs to their direct mail marketing campaigns in order to improve the viewer experience. The more tech savvy businesses are also utilizing mobile landing pages with targeted and relevant information. The better the information and offer, the better the results. Which is why as marketers you must do everything you can to make sure the correct message gets to the correct person at the correct time. You must also use the correct channels to correspond with your direct mail marketing efforts, too. These channels include email, mobile and social media to name a few.

Mobile has everyone on the go

There is no denying it; mobile marketing is exploding in popularity. There are few people, young or old, who do not own or use a smart phone. Mobile can work alongside mail marketing with a host of burgeoning technologies such as QR Codes, augmented reality (AR) — just think of the Pokémon Go phenomenon–, Short Message Service (SMS) and Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS). All these changes make the days of old seem just that: O-L-D!

Mail marketing connects the old with the new

When done correctly, direct mail marketing can become the entry point to all of these exciting ways to connect and engage with customers and prospects. It can seamlessly link to all of today’s marketing channels, making direct mail marketing the ideal physical link with the digital world.

I can’t say enough about direct mail marketing

Okay, have I made my case for the relevancy of direct mail marketing? I hope so. When the versatility that direct mail has shown over the years is combined with modern technologies, marketers have a combined medium that will serve them well for years to come. When all is said and done, direct mail is without question the most effective way to integrate offline and online marketing.

Best of Days to You,

Audrey Ferrante
Ferrante & Associates, Inc.

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