Branding Blog

Does Direct Mail still work in a digital age?

Written by Dale Berkebile | Tue, Mar 01, 2011

You bet it does!

That must be because it is tied to a website, landing page or PURL campaign, right? Nope, just a standard letter mailer in an envelope.

You're probably wondering how this is possible or if I'm just talking about some old school theory.

The funny thing is this is an old school theory used for the mailer I reviewed this morning from yesterdays personal mail delivery. So you're probably wondering what this is all about, since everyone is saying direct mail is dead.

Well here is the deal. Direct mail can be interruption based marketing, meaning that you do not know the audience you are mailing to. In this case you probably know nothing about the audience because you just went out and bought a list for what you thought was your ideal customer demographic. Yes sometimes this works, but sometimes you miss the boat.

Do you know why direct mail doesn't work? It is because you really do not know the customer or anything about them.

Do you know why the mailer I got did work?
There are a few reasons:

  1. It came from Toyota - I own a Camry so they know something about me
  2. The offer was for the high mileage maintenance special - my Camry is pushing 180K miles, they know this from previous interactions, the age of my vehicle and they recorded my mileage from the last time they worked on my car
  3. Toyota stirred up emotions - of course I do not want to have problems with my car so I want to set up a service call to stay a head of the game

So what is the key marketing take away?

Know your target audience in all your marketing efforts. If you do this, even old school marketing tactics can still work and be very powerful. This dealer is going to make a few hundred dollars off of me to service my car and will follow up as I hit higher mileage and I need something else. This is all because they track my mileage and make appropriate offers tied to things that are going on in my life.

Knowing your audience, it is the best marketing tactic you can use. This is why salesforce.com and other CRM's (customer relationship management software) are doing big business. Knowing your customer is the key to marketing success.