Don’t Return to Sender!
It’s a winning formula for Hollywood blockbusters—a small town, major city, even planet Earth as a whole, finds itself under attack by some monstrosity. But, when an intruder abandons the big screen and infiltrates our mailboxes, it becomes personal. Of course, monsters aren’t hiding in our mailboxes waiting to attack as we retrieve the contents; nevertheless, a deluge of unsolicited direct mail can be just as horrific to find.
To make matters worse, unlike the movies, there is no director to shout “Cut!” Unless we stay on top of paper disposal, we will soon be buried on the living room floor under mountains of mail. Legislators are responding to this problem with State Do Not Mail Registry Bills. According to the Direct Marketing Association, 2008 began with nine states creating bills to form state-run Do Not Mail registries. In addition, seven states carried over legislation from their sessions last year, with two states filing new bills at the beginning of their sessions.
In lieu of these findings, what does this mean for direct mail, a market that continues to generate billions of dollars? Perhaps it suggests nothing presently. Yet, this might change within the next few years, since the plan to eliminate the number of mailer recipients has been initiated.
Those trying to reap profits from direct mail must get mailers into the right hands—and make sure they stay there—before they hit the trash can. With the demand for customer interaction comes creative tactics such as personalization, coupons, scratch-offs and colorful designs, to name a few.
Here, five industry professionals were asked to elaborate on why direct mail is valuable and how mailer campaigns can remain an attractive, viable option for distributors and their end-customers.
Rick Joly, vice president, Goodway Group of Massachusetts, Burlington, Mass. (www.goodwaygroup-ma.com):
“Direct mail is and will remain a viable tool in today’s increasingly complex marketing arena. Unlike unread e-mails, which loom like an albatross in your inbox, [direct mail] can be dealt with at the recipient’s leisure—usually while perched over the trash can. The more eye-catching and relevant the piece is, the less likely it will be tossed. Quality data and tactful use of variable content produce the best ROI. Mailing to a highly targeted audience means that fewer pieces will yield the same or better results than non-targeted mailings—with reduced postage more than offsetting the higher unit cost. Most pieces we produce for our clients and all of our own collateral make use of digital printing’s VDP capabilities.