Will the Real Cost of Direct Mail Please Stand Up?

Author:Coday, Dan

Let's point out the marketing elephant in the room: in the franchise world, direct mail marketing can be, well, complicated. When each franchisee oversees their own marketing efforts, direct mail can look very different from one location to the next, or simply from one mailing to the next. Creation and execution can be time-intensive, multi-step processes that must be repeated each time a new direct marketing effort is created. While marketing research proves time and again direct mail's ability to attract new customers and increase revenue, sometimes the road to get there can seem a little bumpy.

So what is involved in direct mail, and what are the costs associated with it? Though difficult to pinpoint for each individual organization, the chart to the right displays a fair estimate of what you can expect for a single direct mail effort.

For as simple as direct mail should be for consumers to read and engage with, it's not a simple process. It takes multiple steps, requiring your franchisees' time, resources, and commitment. While the upfront costs of direct mail can appear large, high initial costs don't mean direct mail isn't worth it. Weighing the cost and value of direct mail is something that every organization needs to look at closely to make sure it's something that makes sense for their marketing strategy.

Many franchises, wanting to maintain direct mail but looking to save on expenses, have found ways to reduce upfront costs, which leads to even greater ROI for this marketing channel. The estimation above includes both hard costs, such as printing, postage, freelance design, and writing fees, but it also includes the time costs involved in development and follow up. Here, time costs are making up about 48-58 percent of the overall project cost. While you can't always reduce the hard costs of direct mail, decreasing the amount of time involved in some steps can lead to significant savings.

By providing franchisees a more convenient solution for direct mail, you can cut down those time costs, returning hours back to them that they can put into running their business. The best way to streamline direct mail for franchisees is through a resource where pre-existing solutions can be quickly customized and distributed, without back-and-forth on logistics like content, design, printing, or mailing. A centralized marketing resource, managed by your corporate marketing office, or outsourced resources are great ways to...

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