Direct (Snail) Mail Still Matters for Business and Fundraising

Exploring how to connect to a new generation is critical.  We need to stay ahead of how people communicate with your organization.  But it’s a good reminder that direct mail (snail mail) is still the primary way businesses, non-profits, churches, and ministries  communicate with their customers and donors.  As this article in the Wall Street Journal points out, we shouldn’t be too quick to dump our direct mail campaigns.  Of course look for email or social media connections.  Always be experimenting and tracking trends.  But make sure your
base is still working and you’re investing in the platform of direct mail.  Don’t get so far out on the “cutting edge” you end up on the “bleeding edge.”

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  1. Think the key learning in this article is that the list needs to be targeted, mailings need to be differentiated & feel like there’s a personal touch.

    Seems the old ways of sending something generic to everybody & anybody are long gone.

  2. When using direct mail, or any marketing tactic, make sure you have an idea of what the Long Term Value of a new customer is, and what is an acceptable cost to acquire these new customers. Some people new to direct marketing use direct mail one time and say it didn’t work for them because the amount of initial sales from new customers didn’t pay for the mailing. Yet if they figured in how much a new customer would spend over the next year or years, they may find out that the effort was hugely successful.

    If you are looking for direct mail marketing statistics to plan a successful marketing campaign, two studies are available from the National Mail Order Association, NMOA. They are, the DMA Statistical Fact Book, http://www.nmoa.org/catalog/dma/dma_stats.htm and the Response Rate Trends Report, http://www.nmoa.org/catalog/dma/dma_response.htm

  3. It’s true that we still see some response from tradition mail, but I think for smaller organizations it may be a waste of time to invest into a medium that is showing such a small response rate.

    Almost every marketer worth their salt would agree that the main part of good brand dispersion is word of mouth, and social media is just that. Our culture is moving to a point where traditional advertising is just noise. Our society doesn’t want to be talked AT – they want us to be talk WITH them. Advertising and marketing is moving from being a lecture, to being a conversation between the organization and the individual and snail mail doesn’t allow that interaction.

    Because we are in a transition between the two worlds, I suggest we have a stance in both areas yet spend more time of the method that has a future, rather than milking the methods that are on their way out.


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