Direct Mail Sales Are Complex, yet Rewarding
Although direct mail projects may require a great deal of coordination, the payoff can be sweet.
With the national Do Not Call Registry freezing out telemarketers and spam overwhelming e-mail inboxes, businesses trying to solicit or retain customers must rely more than ever on direct mail to do the job.
That's good news for distributors, with their expertise in printed products, although it can also mean a bit of a learning curve for those inexperienced with this niche.
Although invoices and marketing pieces may seem to dominate the mailbox, there are myriad reasons a company or organization may need to send a mailing, according to Lindsay Gray, vice president of Acculink, Greenville, N.C. "You've got to decide why you're calling on a customer [for direct mail]," Gray said. "You don't just go in and drop your business card and say, 'Call me the next time you need variable imaging.' Tax notices get handled totally differently than car promotions. Even within a business, different departments might be doing different mailings—soliciting for 401k plan employee participation, for instance, or loyalty mailings to current customers," he said.
This multiplies opportunities for distributors, but means that they must knock on many doors within the end-user's business—department heads in marketing, billing, IT and sales, as well as owners and executives.
Churches and non-profit organizations may need to recruit members, as well as send contribution statements and information on events. Retailers need to announce store openings, sales and special promotions, such as giveaways and celebrity appearances. Corporations may be stuffing multiple communications in one mailing.
Mailing lists may be targeted by demographics, geography (a certain radius of a store location) or membership (such as for school alumni mailings or national organizations). And, there are always the everyday invoices, billing statements, and payroll, tax and fine notices. "The key is who is coordinating the project, whatever it might be," noted Allen Simon, president of Datatel Resources Corporation, Monaca, Pa.