Posts Tagged ‘direct mail’

Yesterday’s mail included three pieces of direct marketing.


  • Arrived in a white, windowed No. 10 envelope
  • Teased 0 percent APR for the first 12 months
  • Contained a faux credit card
  • Pledged “no annual fee” on the buck slip, with a sword-shaped asterisk directing me to 7-point legalese
  • Allowed the card holder to “earn” points — for gas, merchandise, travel and the like


  • Offered to educate me about being a more savvy consumer, saver or investor
  • Provide tools I might use to teach my children responsible credit habits
  • Committed to having my purchases contribute to a worthy societal or environmental cause
  • Offered information to help me simplify my life, grow my business, or in some other way climb just a bit higher on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

In other words, none offered content. Therefore. none promised a life- or business-enhancing experience, conversation or relationship.

So, all wound up directly in the recycling.

Three marketers and their direct agencies, hoping to squeeze just one more iota of an ROI percentage out of this particular test, missed by a country mile with this consumer. And you have to wonder how good they felt — not how confident or smart; how good — designing and dropping those mailings in the first place.

Reason No. 47 why content marketing is a great strategy? Good karma.

As a content marketer, you can take satisfaction in making a legitimate attempt to add some level of value to the world, the marketplace of ideas, and most important, for your desired audience.

Whether that value is designed to entertain, connect or educate, it’s built in there, interlaced with your marketing purpose and message.

When you shut down the computer at day’s end, you can take that legitimate attempt to add value and make a deposit in the psychic bank.

Ironically, you’re also more likely to get the purely financial ROI you seek. Because you’ve attempted to differentiate, through relevance and value, from that veritable blizzard of white, windowed No. 10s.


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In 2008, the Winterberry Group saw a dip in DM spend, and volume, for the first time in 45 years of tracking.

In 2008, the Winterberry Group saw a dip in DM spend, and volume, for the first time in 45 years of tracking.

Like the dinosaurs of days past, has print direct mail begun its own inevitable trudge toward the tar pits?  

That’s clearly the question raised by new research from the Winterberry Group.

As reported in eMarketer Daily this week, Winterberry noted a
3 percent dip in DM spending in 2008, the first drop in year-over-year DM spend in 45 years.  

Winterberry also cites research by Mintel Comperemedia, which recorded a
12 percent drop in DM volume — the actual number of pieces mailed. Both data points are captured in a Winterberry report titled, A Channel in Transformation: Vertical Market Trends in Direct Mail 2009.

Winterberry points to the popularity of digital media, recent tough times in the financial services sector, and rising postage and production costs as factors fueling the historic DM decline. Oh, and incidentally, its report predicts another
8 percent to 9 percent drop in DM spending for 2009.

Have we seen the zenith of print DM? Winterberry data crunchers seem to think so. Their report states, “Direct mail has seen its influence as a high-volume, mass-oriented response driver all but vanish.”

What do you think? Here’s my initial take: Print DM is purportedly a $50 billion industry, which means it’s an economic iceberg unlikely to melt overnight. However, the forces weighing against continued widespread use of print DM aren’t exactly shrinking away, either. If anything, use of digital channels, rising production costs, plus desire/pressure among marketers to operate in environmentally sustainable ways will put even more downward pressure on the use of  DM.

Still, assuming it’s likely to be in the marketer’s toolkit for some time, how do we plan and execute DM as effectively and efficiently as possible?

In future posts, Touch Point City will occasionally look under the hood at print DM, to see if we can identify insights and best practices that will help make your future campaigns as productive as can be.

Meanwhile, please feel free to comment with any of your favorite cost-saving tips and success strategies.

Bar chart credit to eMarketer.

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