Many Americans have adopted the “I want it, and I want it now” mentality. Few individuals enjoy waiting the five- to seven-business day standard delivery time when expecting an important package. Until our order arrives, we run to our mailboxes with the same enthusiasm as a child on Christmas day. But before finding what we want, we often confront a mailbox overflowing with unsolicited pieces of direct mail, or what many consider “junk mail.”
Nevertheless, a lot of companies continue to incorporate direct mail into their business strategies. According to an article published in The New York Times, the United States Postal Service (USPS) estimated that in 2006, marketers sent out more than 114 billion pieces of direct mail, including catalogs, credit card solicitations and coupons. But are these marketing
efforts showing worthwhile results?
In its March 2007 issue, Target Marketing, a sister publication of Print Professional, revealed survey findings based on the input of 262 respondents (consisting of B-to-C and B-to-B marketers). Thirty-two percent of respondents said direct mail delivers the strongest ROI for customer acquisition, while 31 percent claimed direct mail has a strong ROI for customer retention.
E-mail came in a close second to direct mail, with 32 percent of the participants choosing this method for customer acquisition, and 35 percent believing e-mails result in strong customer retention. These results are not shocking. Constant technological advancements, such as sophisticated Web applications, are making it easier for B-to-B marketers to promote products even faster to potential and existing customers.
In the world of direct mail, what turns wasted revenue into fruitful corporate gains? Is it the message of the mailer? For example, will end-users be inclined to open a mailer that makes an appealing offer such as increased lines of credit? Or, will end-users succumb to a guilt tactic?