Don’t Call It a Comeback
By Rod DeVar, manager of direct mail, USPS®
Marketers are cost-conscious by nature. But last
year’s economic meltdown forced them to look even
harder for efficiencies, and it’s a mindset they’ll
keep as the market recovers. But through it all,
direct mail has been — and will continue to be — a
viable, effective marketing tool. Here’s why:
1. It’s a strong acquisition tool. Marketers
like paying lower prices to search for new customers
online, but they’re often disappointed when these
folks don’t stick around. That’s because targeting
new acquisitions online is much less precise than
sending a mail piece to prospects you know will
likely be repeat purchasers.
2. Technology continues to improve. Variable
data printing is letting marketers acknowledge
customers as individuals. Not only will more
marketers take advantage of it, those already using
it will get smarter about their applications by
using customer data to better track relationships
and tailor content as wants and needs change. That’s
increased personalization makes direct mail more
relevant to the end user.
3. Newspapers are suffering. As newspaper
circulation dwindles, it will spur a significant
migration to the mail by those marketers
(particularly retailers) that need to reach a high
number of people in a very targeted, geographic
4. Content marketing is on the rise.
Transpromotion and custom publishing are delivering
marketing messages in more personal and relevant
ways, with information woven right in the content —
a plus for both marketers and recipients. Custom
publishing continues strong growth because consumers
like the quality, and with transpromotion the
senders of statements and bills can include
marketing messages that connect with how the
customer is using their services.
5. Clean lists are eco-friendly. As marketers
continue to address
list hygiene, they’ll be mailing more
efficiently. Not only will that deliver a better
return, it also is good for the planet, because the
number of wasteful pieces will decline.
6. Mail will be even easier to track. More
marketers will begin using the
Intelligent Mail® barcode, a new
Postal Service™ barcode used to sort and track
letters and flats. With it, they’ll be receiving
more detailed information than ever on how and when
their direct mail is being delivered, as well as how
customers are responding.
Before you kick off your 2010 efforts, know this:
The recession has created new norms for the
marketing realm. Many tried-and-true formulas for
evaluating media effectiveness and accountability
won’t measure up to your heightened need to
accomplish stronger results for less investment. But
direct mail will continue to perform.
---Source: Deliver Magazine Dec. 2009
Rod DeVar is manager of direct mail at the USPS.