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Direct Mail that Works
By Bob Rentsch, Vista Consulting

Over the last few years, the growth of on-line marketing campaigns - especially email marketing - have pushed more traditional off-line marketing efforts to the background.

Over the last few years, the growth of on-line marketing campaigns - especially email marketing - have pushed more traditional off-line marketing efforts to the background. While there are significant cost and immediacy advantages to online marketing campaigns, organizations can greatly benefit from keeping direct mail in their marketing program mix. In fact, the Direct Marketing Organization notes interesting synergy between online and off-line efforts. According to their Fifth Annual E-Commerce Survey, the DMA discovered that direct mail is slightly more effective at driving web site traffic than email marketing.

Know Your Customer

Potential customers travel through multiple phases in any purchasing process. Depending on which marketing textbook you read, these have different names but can be boiled down to:
Awareness -> Knowledge -> Preference -> Purchase
Different parts of the communication and selling cycle target each of these phases. The beauty of a good direct mail campaign is that it can raise awareness, provide knowledge and build the foundation for a product preference. Tall order, but possible.

As with any marketing program, to begin an effective direct mail campaign, you need to understand your target customer:
  • Who are they?
  • What problems are they trying to solve?
  • How are they solving them today?
  • How does your offering help them?
  • How can you get to them?
The last question bears some discussion. If your buyer is a senior decision-maker, such as a vice president or C-level manager (CEO, CIO, CTO, or CMO), chances are good that they are bombarded with companies trying to sell their product or service. They most likely have an administrative assistant who acts as a gatekeeper for people trying to reach the executive. For any campaign to be effective, not only do you need to ensure your message is compelling to the target audience, but you must also figure out a way to get the information into their hands.

Don't Be Afraid To Think Big


When your target is a VP or C-level manager, you need to think high impact direct mail. Sending a letter, brochure or even a catalog will not get much

Bob Rentsch is a marketing consultant at Vista Consulting LLC ( www.vista-consulting.com ) and brings over 20 years of experience managing marketing and development organizations. Bob

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