Direct mailing

In a tough business environment we all need to get our products known to as many customers as possible, whether it’s in a consumer market or a professional one.


Typical advertising mail


One of the classic ways is direct mail, be it by email, flyers, or traditional postal services.


I must point out that I agree that advertising and getting your message to as wide an audience as possible  is fundamental, but I also think that we need to re-consider what is being done and how.


Example One


Just now, on the way back in, I checked for mail in the letter box. What do I find? No “proper” letters, not even a bill (thank goodness for on-line billing).


Just some flyers: Two separate flyers from the Scientologists (one clever document talking about voting for what we need with the only reference to them


Where's my mail?

Where’s my mail? (Photo credit: Éole)

on the back, and another asking if I wondered if I had a previous incarnation); and two pizza delivery flyers, both of which I had already received 4 days ago. Sometimes I even get expensive-looking envelopes from the local Diocese!


Example Two


Every month I receive mail from my bank. What they are very good at doing is slipping into the envelope with the necessary document a whole load of advertising of their services which easily triples the amount of paper. Every month this is essentially the same information (there is always a newsletter) and every month I do not read it, and simply send it to the cylinder store.


These are two examples, and it exasperates me to see such waste and inefficient practices, knowing as we all do that it still exists even in the inter-professional world.


Advertising is complicated and highly competitive, but it is also a highly advanced art (I can not call it a science). There are ever-increasing ways of getting your message out to the masses, using more and more technologies, and research keeps on being done to refine the knowledge of best practices and what works and doesn’t.


The research is funded with lots of money; Why? Because direct physical mailing costs a fortune, and not a small one. Why does it cost so much? Because of the number of elements that contribute directly to the cost:


  • Paper;
  • Postage;
  • Transport;
  • Labour;
  • Printing.

And for what? So that a huge number of people bin it at the first chance. Everyday, people in my building just throw this junk on the floor in front of their letter boxes (litter bugs are a problem the world over and in my case I am driving for a simple bin to be installed for these papers).


Research apparently shows that a lot of sales come out direct mailing.


But at what cost?


The cost is not just money, it is also the professionalism of the advertiser. It appears to me that these people are just not engaging their professional talent and asking themselves how they can do it better – how can they improve their efficiency ? Don’t these people receive junk mail?


Don’t they hold it in their hands and shake their heads, wondering how the sender can create so much waste with little chance of a return?

Certainly, there are situations where other methods can not work. For example, elderly people are unlikely to be a good target for on-line  marketing such as Google AdWords.


In most cases thing can be done differently.


Banks are huge, have invested heavily in on-line presences and services. With a bit of applied thinking and asking their teams to make an effort, they will be able to create a system that works. Yes, I might delete the bank’s email message, but I do it already with the physical mail which costs infinitely more. There are things called opt-in and opt-out, there are configurable newsletters which can be tailored to the individual’s need. But above all, there is a whole load of expensive marketing “professionals” working for the banks who have invested time and money in their own education who should simply be told:


“Get into the Review – Update – Execute cycle and create something that resonates with the customer.”


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