Direct Mail – A Viable Means of Reaching Clients and Prospects
The Federal laws implemented in 2004 regarding telemarketing were the talk of the direct marketing industry for much of the year. Many companies continue to be justly concerned about declining sales resulting from the inability to cost-effectively prospect for new clients. While these concerns are certainly valid, it is important to remember that direct mail continues to be a viable means of reaching these same business and consumer prospects, often times with greater effect and nearly always with no negative backlash from prospects. A recently completed Vertis study revealed that in just the last two years, the percentage of total adults that said they had responded to direct mail advertising in the past 30 days had increased from 34% to nearly 49%. Also important is the research revealing that the year-to-year figures for weekly readership of direct mail remains steady at 55%. Among more affluent households ($75,000+ annual income), readership actually increased from 53% to 59% in the last 12 months. Direct mail usage has increased 7% annually since 1985 and exceeds $50 billion this year alone. These figures represent a strong testimonial to the power of direct mail. Because direct mail lends itself to a highly targeted audience, multiple testing, personalization, and accountability, it is an excellent vehicle for marketing your business. Whether you are part of the Fortune 100 or a one-person operation, direct mail produces solid results and will continue to play an important role in marketing communications, particularly as we enter an era of diminished telemarketing capacity and declining e-mail response rates. Many companies shy away from Direct Mail due to its perceived cost. However, Direct mail’s cost per response and in many cases its cost per sale is, in fact, the lowest of any advertising medium. Most advertising methods include a considerable amount of “wasted circulation,” bringing your message to thousands or even millions who are simply not interested in your product or service. But with mail’s precision targeting, a marketer can zero-in on the right people and not waste money reaching large numbers of the wrong people. Database-driven Direct Mail is a superb tool for generating efficient responses, strengthening customer relationships and settling the foundation for even more powerful marketing programs in the future. Whether you are marketing to your existing database or embarking on a prospecting effort, direct mail should remain at the top of your list as the marketing medium of choice.