Designing An On-Point Direct Mail Campaign

How to hit a bullseye every time.

What has a better ROI:

  • A blanket direct mail campaign sending tens or even hundreds of thousands of mailers out to diverse cross sections of consumers?
  • A targeted direct mail campaign combined with a follow-through web presence using pURLs and personalization technology to instantly engage the consumer?
  • A highly targeted, gift-giving style campaign that focuses on sending just a few super high-quality mailers – like glossy catalogues, posters, calendars, flowers, food, or even apparel – to ideal marketing demographics?

The answer to this question is D: all of the above. There are dozens of different direct mail products out there, and depending on which marketing or advertising firm you're working with, and what kind of technology they're pushing forward this week, you will get a dozen different answers to this question: which direct mail campaign provides the best ROI?

The truth of the matter is that it's industry and even promotion-specific. And the most important thing is to build your campaign around your product, not around a pre-created model promising returns to the nth degree.

The print advertising industry is currently under enormous pressure to invest in and implement new technologies that 'promise' incredible direct marketing results. Unfortunately, this creates a climate where the need to use that technology can tend to supersede the actual, practical requirements of each individual campaign. This, in turn, can cause companies to overinvest.

The best way to protect against the risk of overinvesting is to know your product, know your market, and make the facts of your campaign the motivating force behind what style of direct mail product you choose.

You don't need, for example, a pURL campaign to tell a neighborhood about a new business that just opened around the corner. On the other hand, an online company based in the UK might best connect with prospective clients in the U.S. with a highly targeted, personalized message.

The point is that the product must dictate the parameters of the campaign, not the marketing firm hired to execute. Of course, you have to trust the experts you hire to know the industry and do a good job, but it cases where you feel like you're being asked to overinvest, you may, in fact, be being asked to compensate for someone else's overinvestment in pricey technology. It's important to be able to just say 'no,' and pick the direct mail campaign style that works for you.

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