The Perfect Couple?
Getting into a prospect’s home with your direct mail piece is akin to crashing his or her party. If it’s an event you want to attend (of course it is!)—and where you’ll increase your chances of starting or improving that relationship—then you’re going to have to do better than arriving in the same old mail piece, no matter how well-dressed.
These days, the better approach is arriving as a couple, with e-mail as direct mail’s date. Since it’s difficult to get a moment alone with a prospect today, especially during his or her private time, it’s better to approach that prospect as an integrated pairing rather than two separate, unrelated, wannabe guests. The chances of eventually getting a response are also considerably heightened when both channels are deployed. Additionally, it’s often hard to predict what type of communication a prospect prefers, so both methods should be made available.
Before tiring of this metaphor, consider the only way this dual approach works is if the mediums are present as a united front. The days of going solo—or often worse—as the bickering couple are over. So while it wasn’t love at first sight, with direct mailers and online marketers vying over budgets and sales credit, and perhaps viewing each other with some degree of skepticism, their similarities and differences alike actually make them stronger as a duo.
Times have never been harder for direct mailers to get into prospects’ homes, with the cost of entry at an all-time high. “There’s some very clear trends that are happening in the industry right now. As a result of the postal costs, the paper costs, a weak economy and response rates being down, the financials for the direct mail channel are kind of drying up,” claimed Michael Bloom, general manager of Datran Direct and VP of direct marketing operations for Datran Media in New York City. “You can’t mail deeply, and, at some point, you just lose enough critical mass and reach a tipping point where you don’t have enough volume to support the infrastructure needed to conduct the business,” continued Bloom, who ominously predicted that we’re about to see some key players and categories going upside down.