The U.S. Postal Service this week blanketed U.S. households with a blizzard of eight-page “Holiday Playbooks” proclaiming, “This Is Our Season,” and directing occupants to OurSeason.com to take advantage of several offers, including free delivery of shipping boxes to their doors.
Every smart business tries to keep a lid on costs. That’s just good business sense. But sometimes businesses shoot themselves in the foot with their cost-savings efforts. You wouldn’t turn off the power in an effort to save money on utilities because the loss of employee productivity would far outweigh any savings you might realize.
Megan Brennan, the soon-to-be Postmaster General, has a heavy task on her hand in steering the beleaguered U.S. Postal Service in the right direction as it continues to hemorrhage cash. She’s well aware of what’s in front of her, as she has served as the Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Postal Service, and has a basic framework: Run it like a private-sector business.
In today’s technology-driven marketing world, direct mail doesn’t get the respect that it once did. It’s not sexy. It doesn’t make the headlines. But that does not mean it doesn’t work. In fact, for many marketers who have long used direct mail as a part of their outreach, direct mail is working better than it used to. This might be due to the fact that fewer companies are using direct mail, so there is less competition for attention than their used to be in the mailbox.
Despite the growing influence of the Internet and email, there is still an important role for direct mail marketing campaigns in modern business. However, a lot of direct mail looks generic, impersonal and commercialized – and that often means it is thrown away before being opened. The only way to ensure the success of your own marketing campaign is to persuade the recipients of your mail to open the envelopes you send, and there are five relatively simple ways to make sure that happens.
Technology has empowered the consumer, putting him in the driver’s seat 24/7. In other words it is the customer who decides when and how to interact during a business relationship. This could be with a bank, an insurance company, a telecommunications organization a utilities group or any other entity. However if a consumer receives a message that is not relevant to him, or via the wrong media or at the wrong time, his customer experience will be far from optimal.
A frequently challenged marketing myth is that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to reach young people via traditional marketing. Many marketers are seemingly convinced that Generations X and Y simply won’t respond to traditional marketing tactics. From TV and radio to direct mail, the reality is that the most effective ways to reach Gen X and Y are surprisingly traditional. Yes, there’s social media, email, and several other digital platforms; there’s also traditional direct mail marketing.
Digital marketing and digital media have changed the way many marketers communicate with their customers and prospects. Email has provided a cost-effective and expeditious vehicle to communicate with customers. Online vehicles, such as banner ads and content marketing, are demonstrating value as effective pull marketing mechanisms.
So has digital marketing, and more specifically digital media channels, changed or influenced direct mail best practices? And how should marketers adapt their direct mail to accommodate these new channels?