Notes from Jeff York

Small business marketing thoughts from a marketing small business owner

Advertising Media – Part 5: Direct Mail

with 7 comments

Have you ever responded to a piece of junk mail?  The chances are that you have.  Not often, but once someone sent you a flyer, an ad within a weekly circular, or some other postcard type piece of snail mail that just happened to be what you needed at exactly the time that you needed it.  Maybe you received a coupon for a new pizza place that you wanted to try out.  Maybe, like me, you received a postcard for a tree removal place at just the same time that you’ve spied a dead tree in your yard that could take out your kitchen during a strong storm.  It’s likely you’ve acted on a piece of direct mail advertisement at some point in your life.

Now, just for a minute, think about all the times that you’ve received junk mail in your life.  Compare that to the number of times you found a piece useful.  Not a very good rate of return, is it?  Care to guess the national average rate of return on direct mailings?  0.5%.  One response out of every 200 mailings.  Is that good?  Yes and no.

When I was the Creative Services Director of a pair of TV stations in Vermont, our lifeblood was the Nielsen ratings system.  In this rating system, receiving 1 rating point meant that 1% of the TV households in your market was turned into your station watching a particular program.  Even that’s not entire accurate.  The ratings books published only whole numbers which Nielsen would round up after reaching .5.  Therefore, buying a commercial in a show that had a 1 rating point in our market at the time meant that you were reaching at least 1640 TV households.  To achieve the same rate of response as direct mail, that means you would have converted 8.2 new customers.

Sounds good so far, but you have to consider reach.  To figure out if direct mail might be good for you, you have to consider the cost of sending direct mail to 1640 households versus the cost of a spot that airs in a show that receives a 1 rating point.  Expand it out.  How much to send out 5 times that number in direct mailings versus a 5 rating point show?

If the numbers start to work for you, you also should be considering the base differences in the media.  With TV, you can use the senses of sight and sound to build your message, but by virtue of the medium, the message is transitory.  With direct mail, it’s a print piece.  It’s sight only.  But the message is persistant until that time when some decides to turn your message into recycling…which might be immediately.

For my clients, I’m willing to talk to them about direct mail as an option.  I think when done well and targeted properly with a well generated mailing list, it can be more effective than a print ad placed in a newspaper, but it’s still considered low-brow advertising.  Direct mail is to advertising as puns are to comedy.

Have you had experience in direct mail?  If so, what has been your rate of response?  Is this form of marketing something you’ve considered for your company?

Advertisements

Written by Jeff York

May 18, 2008 at 1:14 am

7 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I have used door hangers in the past for my business and recived about a .01% return. Barely offset the cost of the flyer’s and distribution. As far as the Junk mail, it was just too overwhelming to deal with. I had to Stop Junk Mail from coming to my home. I use MyJunkTree.com to stop the mail. I think this works for both sides of the house. The direct marketers don’t waste thier money on someone that just does not want it and I reduce the waste.

    Garetjax

    June 21, 2008 at 6:47 pm

  2. I have used door hangers in the past for my business and recived about a .01% return. Barely offset the cost of the flyer’s and distribution. As far as the Junk mail, it was just too overwhelming to deal with. I had to Stop Junk Mail from coming to my home. I use MyJunkTree.com to stop the mail. I think this works for both sides of the house. The direct marketers don’t waste thier money on someone that just does not want it and I reduce the waste.

    Garetjax

    June 21, 2008 at 6:47 pm

  3. I happen to be one of the owners of MyJunkTree and as a new company I search the web to see if we are getting any visibility out there and it seems the word is getting out. Thanks for the support.

    We launched the company because we were tired of all the junk mail we were receiving and we personally did not want to bounce all over the web to contact all the different companies to stop it all. First and foremost we wanted to let people choose what they wanted to let come to their home knowing that some people really do like some of the coupons and catalogs. So our clients choose what they want stopped.

    We also had to provide a service that is different than the other services out there, so here is what we offer:

    1. We have a database of over 1300 catalogs that you can choose to stop.
    2. We have over a 2000 charities/Non-Profits that you can stop solicitations from.
    3. Stop the delivery of the national phone directories.
    4. Stop the delivery of the weekly coupons.
    5. Stop the general credit card offers as well as the ones from your own major bank.
    6. Stop the miscellaneous junk mail from the data brokers.
    7. You can register on the National Do Not Call Registry from the website.
    8. You can order your no strings attached free annual credit report right from the website.
    9. We plant trees with every new membership.

    And, yes we are a paid service and yes you can do everything that we do for free, if you want to do all the research and spend the time contacting the companies yourself it can easily be done. We have just done all of the legwork for our clients and feel there is value in the service we provide.

    Tim

    August 26, 2008 at 9:00 pm

  4. I happen to be one of the owners of MyJunkTree and as a new company I search the web to see if we are getting any visibility out there and it seems the word is getting out. Thanks for the support.

    We launched the company because we were tired of all the junk mail we were receiving and we personally did not want to bounce all over the web to contact all the different companies to stop it all. First and foremost we wanted to let people choose what they wanted to let come to their home knowing that some people really do like some of the coupons and catalogs. So our clients choose what they want stopped.

    We also had to provide a service that is different than the other services out there, so here is what we offer:

    1. We have a database of over 1300 catalogs that you can choose to stop.
    2. We have over a 2000 charities/Non-Profits that you can stop solicitations from.
    3. Stop the delivery of the national phone directories.
    4. Stop the delivery of the weekly coupons.
    5. Stop the general credit card offers as well as the ones from your own major bank.
    6. Stop the miscellaneous junk mail from the data brokers.
    7. You can register on the National Do Not Call Registry from the website.
    8. You can order your no strings attached free annual credit report right from the website.
    9. We plant trees with every new membership.

    And, yes we are a paid service and yes you can do everything that we do for free, if you want to do all the research and spend the time contacting the companies yourself it can easily be done. We have just done all of the legwork for our clients and feel there is value in the service we provide.

    Tim

    August 26, 2008 at 9:00 pm

  5. Thanks for stopping by and making a comment.

    There are a number of new marketing companies out there that are trying different twists on the junk mail/coupon formula. One company that I’m working with is called BThrifty (www.BThrifty.com). As a green company, they have taken issue with the trees that have been sacrificed for coupons and other junk email.

    Jeff York

    August 27, 2008 at 1:46 am

  6. Thanks for stopping by and making a comment.

    There are a number of new marketing companies out there that are trying different twists on the junk mail/coupon formula. One company that I’m working with is called BThrifty (www.BThrifty.com). As a green company, they have taken issue with the trees that have been sacrificed for coupons and other junk email.

    Jeff York

    August 27, 2008 at 1:46 am

  7. I needed to thank you for this good read!! I absolutely loved every bit of it.

    I have you bookmarked to look at new things you post…

    last night

    May 7, 2013 at 12:31 pm


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: