You may have heard the marketing buzz or seen the headlines: "Direct Mail is Dead." But, before you officially declare your mail marketing efforts DOA, you may want to think twice. Advances in technology and data application, along with a more personal approach, have injected new life into direct mail.
As a direct marketing vehicle, direct mail has a higher open rate and greater readability than any other channel. Over 80 percent of what people receive in the mail, they at least open and scan. And there's no other direct marketing channel that can claim those types of numbers.
What has changed is the approach. Organizations need to adapt their direct mail efforts to customer expectations. Customers expect you to know them. The days of mass mailings to "dear resident" are relics of the past. You need to target mail pieces to audiences that will react and deliver results.
Focus on those most apt to respond
Over the past few years, there have been great strides in business intelligence and data analysis within direct mail. Technology not only allows us to identify audiences by demographic (who customers are) and psychographic (what customers do) indicators, but also incorporate that information into mail pieces. When leveraged properly, data can help you reach the right audience and create mail pieces specific to that audience.
With data analysis and business intelligence, you can segment files using indicators and target those segments with greater accuracy than ever before. First, you take a snapshot of your customers. Who are the people responding to your products or services? You can find this through a data analysis of an existing customer file. Once you pull that data, you can run it against your mailing file to identify people who resemble current customers. Target your direct mail campaign to that specific audience.
The key to direct mail today is focusing on those apt to have the greatest response and not investing money in people who don't fit your profile.
Use results to refine your efforts
Another key to a successful direct mail campaign is tracking and testing. The goal is to streamline your efforts to generate the highest possible ROI. Before you mail any file, you segment it (create groups based on attributes like age, affiliation, region, income, etc.). Each mail piece should have a unique identifier, so that when it comes back, you know exactly who responded to it. Match that up against the segmented...