Campaign with Direct Mail
It's not just a print job. Examine these tactics to better sell direct mail.
"Start at the end result and work your way forward," said Lindsay Gray, vice president of Acculink, Greenville, N.C. After lengthy deliberations over the most effective ways to sell direct mail, Gray settled on this simple advice to help shift the typical distributor's perspective: Encourage distributors to move out of the mind-set that direct mail is a print job and into the idea that it is a campaign. "That is how distributors have to approach it," Gray said. "Direct mail is something that has to be sold through advertising methods, as opposed to traditional broker methods."
A manufacturer of various forms of direct mail, Acculink makes use of specialized equipment—such as the Indigo 3050 HP digital press—to produce highly complex variable printing. The company has produced everything from creative scratch-off card dealership campaigns to utility bills, and continues to look for new and better ways to utilize direct mail products.
Be a Marketer
However, telling distributors to think "campaign" is just the beginning. For further explanation, Gray said that distributors need to function as complete solution providers. "They've got to be a part of the marketing team," he said. "It's the only reason that clients will be willing to pay more money for a product that they can easily get on the Internet."
To do this, Gray advised distributors to better understand marketing, how to measure response and how to plan a campaign involving mailers. For instance, he added, one of Acculink's customers is a large auto dealership that utilized a sweepstakes insurance incentive to draw in buyers. A postcard was sent with a message that instructed readers to bring the postcard to the dealership, where it would be scratched off in front of salespeople. "The incentive was large enough to pique people's interest, and it brought them to the salesperson's door, increasing the number of potential sales for that dealership," he said. "My point is that by proposing ideas that fit the end-user's needs, more direct mail sales can be made. And, direct mail ideas are measurable. The end-user can have proof of their effectiveness. That, in itself, is a selling point."