Direct Mail Marketing

Target potential customers with direct mail marketing

Direct mail marketing is characterized by advertising contact between a business and potential customers without an intermediary source delivering the promotional message. Also known as target marketing, these campaigns are typically enacted through mailings to prospective customers and, in the age of digital communications, email messages.

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What Is Direct Mail Marketing?

As mentioned, direct marketing campaigns can take several forms. Targeted mailings, email marketing and telemarketing are the most common. The driving principle behind direct marketing is that it holds the audience's attention captive – there is nothing but the prospective customer and your message.

Using a direct mail marketing list, which is simply a list of prospective customers and their contact information, the company doing the advertising prepares a scripted message and sends it off unsolicited. Many companies license or purchase direct mail marketing lists from lead generation or market research services who have compiled information on prospective customers.

Direct marketing campaigns are characterized by a "call to action," in which the potential customer is urged to take an immediate and very specific action. The relative success of a campaign is usually measured by the response rate to the call to action, and many firms rely on direct marketing services to help them create advertising initiatives with higher response rates.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Direct Marketing

For businesses, the advantages of direct marketing campaigns include cost control and quantifiable success rates. The cost certainty delivered via direct marketing campaigns allows businesses to keep the price of goods or services lower. It is one of the least expensive ways for a company to promote its products, completely eliminating middle men.

However, these advantages come at a cost. Many consumers are turned off by direct marketing campaigns because they feel that they represent an invasion of privacy. In extreme cases, this can result in consumers immediately and permanently choosing not to give any of their business to the company behind the marketing campaign. Also, response rates are typically very low – much lower than are seen in other forms of advertising.

Prevailing wisdom suggests that direct marketing campaigns are most effective in business-to-business situations and less effective in business-to-consumer situations. However, if your products or services lend themselves well to direct marketing, call-to-action campaigns, you might find they greatly benefit your company's ability to connect with new customers.

Whether you need some consulting on your direct mail marketing campaign, or you'd like a professional to plan and implement the campaign for you, there are many specialized direct mail firms that can help.

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