What do eggs, fruit, lawn care services, baby clothes, pigs and ink-on-paper organizers have in common? Too often, consumers think of them as commodities — widely available, undifferentiated, pretty much interchangeable. As a result, the decision to buy is typically based on price — driving margins down. When your assignment is to write email, direct mail, ad or collateral copy for a “commodity” product or service, look for ways to help your customer think differently about what you’re selling.
Looking to jump-start its holiday sales, Target announced recently it would offer free 3-to-5-day shipping on all orders, commencing immediately and running through Dec. 20. “We’ve been building capabilities that put us in a strong starting position, including the right digital tools,” said Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell in a press release announcing the move.
In what appears to be a new direct marketing strategy, American Express Open has recently taken a very real-life, interactive approach to marketing its Business Gold Rewards Card. This new strategy features real-life small business owners, who are Business Gold Rewards cardmembers, and stories of how the card helped to build and sustain their businesses. In addition, it introduces a new interactive layer to direct mail that we haven’t yet seen from the “direct mail king.”
You cannot expect a good response from the direct mail aspect of your campaign unless you are working with good quality data. It doesn’t matter how good your material is; even if you have brilliant design and text that delivers your offer in its best possible light. Unless your database is clean, you’ll be wasting money.
The Postal Service now has approval for a pilot program to deliver groceries and packaged food, according to an Oct. 23 decision by the Postal Regulatory Commission. The Postal Service had asked to test out a concept it called “customized delivery” in which the agency receives freezer bags filled with foods or other packaged goods from sellers and delivers them to people’s homes. The PRC approved the request.
Next’s successful return to direct mail announced recently signals the revival of a medium that has been overlooked by many retailers in recent years. Has Next spotted an opportunity that others haven’t? In an interview with Marketing Week, Lord Wolfson, Next’s chief executive, stated the company has turned direct mail back on after seven years. He said: “There was too much [direct mail] six years ago, but the volume today is infinitely less. The more there is the less effective it becomes [and vice versa].”
Direct mail pieces with medium envelope/package sizes dominated the offers received by Who’s Mailing What! since 2010, averaging 71 percent each year. One-third of these medium-sized pieces used a #10 envelope. Retail Traffic Builders were the top user of medium sizes for the years reviewed. Fundraising categories like Health-Handicapped and Social Action (Causes) also topped this list every year, with almost half of the pieces using a No. 10 envelope.
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.
In a recent Newsflash newsletter, it reported on how the Australian postal service is tapping into ecommerce to boost cross border trade with China. Australia Post signed a deal with Alibaba Group to set up a store on Tmall, its B2C marketplace for Chinese shoppers. The Australia Post storefront on Tmall lets even small companies begin selling to China.
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?