Direct Mail Stamps Out Adversity
Industry experts find direct mail remains robust, despite postal issues and e-mail campaigns.
While not representing a major segment of distributor sales, direct mail is gaining clout as a product with significant growth potential. This is true despite postal-hike woes, and economic adversity. Even an onslaught of e-mail direct mail campaigns hasn't stunted interest in the product.
As stated by Greg Muzzillo, founder and CEO of Proforma, Cleveland, its the junk e-mail that drives him to welcome direct mail with open arms. "On a very micro level, I get a lot of junk e-mail, and I don't pay any attention to it," said Muzzillo. "Therefore, when I actually receive a real letter in the 'mail-mail', I do pay attention to it. I don't think direct mail is going away any time soon."
Overall, interviewees feel the same way reporting that direct mail is consistent, if not very good. Noted by most as a promising product, one of direct mail's largest foes may be a lack of education for selling it, according to Graham McClean, president and CEO of Global DocuGraphix, Chicago.
According to McClean, direct mail offers up to a 40 percent margin on sales for Global, and continues to show great results. He added that this product has its pros and cons, but can be very successful if more salespeople be-come comfortable promoting it.
At Cleveland-based Proforma, select owners have generated individual orders of up to $100,000. "And," said Muzzillo, "some of our owners have also achieved sales of $1 million a year in this specialized niche."
Brian Wiedenmann, general manager of Merrill Corporation, Monroe, Wash., said that while direct mail is not a "core component at Merrill," it is "offered as a value-added service to our product mix." He reported total direct mail sales for 2002 as a sparse 1 percent to 2 percent.