Guest Post by Jim Gilbert and some commentary by @yoavkaufman “Direct Mail’s Death Rumors are Greatly Exaggerated (but by whom?)”
I’ve been following Jim Gilbert of Gilbert Direct @gilbertdirect on Twitter for some time. His latest article caught my eye since it’s a question in the back of my mind and I think one that’s on many peoples radar.
The topic is direct mail and more specifically, the lifespan of direct mail.
Let’s be honest, direct mail is a dinosaur in the world of marketing and fundraising. It’s been around forever and although it changes and adapts, it’s still the senior member of many companies marketing campaigns. Being senior has it’s advantages and disadvantages. Being tried and tested means one knows the craft and has been around the block and back and lived to tell about it. A disadvantage is that at every move you have people guessing when will be the last game you’ll play.
I’ve been in the direct mail business for 10 years or so and the view from my desk shows little slow down. Business may have peaked in 2007 or so, but mailers are back now that the economy has taken a turn for the better.
Personally, I don’t see direct mail disappearing any time soon unless we see some radical change. If the U.S. post office shuts down or postage triples in cost overnight (which may be both actual possibilities some time in the future!) then we’ll see a big shift. Also, when my kids get to be my age in another 35 years, it’ll be interesting to see how direct mail plays into the marketing scheme of things since my kids and many their age were raised on iPads, not handwritten letters.
But, can’t we all just get along? Actually, no.
“Every time I turn around, there’s a new name and/or affront to direct mail. First it was push marketing. (We were being too pushy!) Then it was outbound marketing. (“They” coined the phrase “inbound marketing.”) The term I hear all the time these days that makes my blood boil is “intrusion” marketing.”
“Who creates these monikers? It’s the marketers of course!”
“And while referring to direct marketers as intrusion marketers, they’ve named themselves “attraction” marketers. Let’s attract; let’s start a conversation; let’s communicate. Oh please!”
So let me set the record straight for those who proffer the garbage that direct mail intrudes.
Consider the following:
1. Direct mail isn’t going to die anytime soon. Direct mail marketers will evolve, survive and thrive. By taking advantage of personalization and the multitude of tools online, direct marketers’ response rates will increase and targeting will get even better. Direct mail is still the most highly targetable media around. There are thousands of list on the market both consumer and B2B with endless selections and possibilities for drilling into the data for precise targeting. There are coops like I-Behavior and Abacus that allow for very tight predictive modeling for prospecting as well. And then there is mailing to your own company’s house file. I do that regularly. A diet postcard I mailed a while back generated about $200,000 in revenue on costs of $4,000…. that’s a 50:1 ROI folks…. and it’s not something that is an exception to the rule either.
2. If your goal is to be relevant, direct mail delivers. Direct marketers don’t want to mail to people who don’t want to receive their offers. And those consumers who don’t want to receive catalogs/direct mail can turn to suppression services such as Catalog Choice and the Direct Marketing Association’s mail preference service to opt out. All mailers can use those files as suppression files before mailing so as not to reach someone not wanting to be mailed.
3. All of us so-called “intrusion” marketers set the rules for direct marketing and internet marketing. We created a medium that’s all about measurement and metrics. Direct marketers are responsible for the tools that differentiate themselves from those dot-bomb sock puppet marketers, so why are they dissing you?
4. You’d think there’s room for all types of media in today’s marketing mix. Direct marketers don’t bad-mouth pull marketing. They embrace it, use it, measure it — and if it works, roll out with it. They’re driven purely by return on investment. If it works, they love it.
5. It still works. Direct marketers have taken big hits on paper and postage rates, the economy, even anthrax in the last decades, but they continue to soldier on. The truth is, they still get response and ROI. If not, they’d stop mailing. Consumers still buy via the mail, and will continue to do so.
The bottom line: Don’t buy into the self-fulfilling prophesy that direct mail is a dead medium. It ain’t! My clients are seeing good to excellent results in the mail. Just follow the principles of direct marketing and you’ll succeed.
Please note: This article originally ran for Retail Online Integration Magazine where I have a regular column.
Jim Gilbert is president of Gilbert Direct Marketing Inc., a full-service catalog, direct marketing and social media agency. His LinkedIn profile can be viewed at www.linkedin.com/in/jimwgilbert. You can email him firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/gilbertdirect
Ever wonder what subject line to use for your next email campaign? Look no further!
The 2013 Adestra Subject Line Analysis Report, which was based on a review of over 2 billion global emails is a great source of data on what sort of subject lines work… and which do not.
Credit and thanks go to http://www.marketingprofs.com for their post “The Most (and Least) Effective Keywords in Email Subject Lines” for the inspiration.
Full post from the Marketing Profs here: http://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2013/11228/the-most-effective-keywords-in-email-subject-lines
Full report from Adestra here: http://www.adestra.com/resources/reports/adestra-subject-line-analysis-report-2013/
An active and healthy acquisition program means your house list stays ‘fit’ and is likely to be sought after by other mailers.
There are many reasons why your active donor or member file should be available for exchanges and rentals with other mailers.
Here are 6 really good reasons why you should have your list on the market:
- LOWER LIST COSTS: You have the ability to develop exchange relationships between your organization and the lists you are using, or plan to use, in prospecting. This cuts costs for acquisition since exchanges are far cheaper than rentals.
- RELATIONSHIP BUILDING THROUGH RENTALS: Making your file available for rental, in addition to exchange, allows you to maintain positive relationships with core lists, even when the exchange balance gets too high(and their available list universe too low) for you to allow additional exchanges.
- RENTAL INCOME: Renting your list generates extra income for your organization. We recommend keeping your fundraising rates low for your fellow nonprofits, but you can be institute more aggressive pricing for commercial entities. Rental pricing for nonprofits in general is a solid two digit number ($85 per thousand, for example). But when settling on a rate for commercial mailers, you have a bit more room to work with. Aim to never have less than three digits ($150 per thousand is a decent number).
- SAMPLES: These give you an upfront look into what your competitors and core continuation lists are mailing. When organizations approach you for a list rental, they have to submit a mail sample, which is a great way to get insight into their acquisition program. A sample tells you at least three things:
- What their control or test packages look like;
- What their potential donors respond to;
- What they are doing or testing that you may not be.
- TEST IDEAS: When new mailers within your core market ask to rent your list, it opens up the door to new test ideas. Out-of-market mailers using your file continuously could be a sign that you could test into that arena. For example, if The New Yorker keeps renting your file, take a look at their file and see if they have selects available for an intelligent test.
- YOU HAVE CONTROL: Don’t forget—you are in control! You decide who, when and how. No mailer can use your list without your approval. You have the ability to block dates, say no to packages that look too similar to your own, and deny requests all together. The power is in your hands.
Video is one tool in the non-profit tool box that can be used to raise awareness and even raise funds. Check out this video from Cisco and find out more!
This summer, Vivint, one of the largest home automation companies in North America, is giving away more than one million dollars to charities through its GiveBack Project.
We LOVE Vivint for it’s innovative approach to charitable giving.
We also LOVE AMIT. With 85 schools in 24 cities throughout Israel, AMIT sets the standard for quality education in Israel.
Now, you can help AMIT receive a grant of up to $250,000 from Vivint. Here’s how:
You can start voting today and continue voting once a day until August 27th.
Vote for AMIT early and often.
NextMark, our favorite source for list information, commissioned research to better understand the core issues related to list acquisition and list fulfillment.
“The Evolution of List Fulfillment” is the first whitepaper of its kind, leveraging the combined experience of seasoned direct marketing professionals (list brokerage and management executives), with technological expertise (NextMark) and qualified third-party editorial (Ray Schultz).
Download your free copy (PDF format) now: The Evolution of List Fulfillment
Today’s eJewish Philanthropy features an article by Susan Weidman Schneider, one of Lilith Magazines founders, on the concept on Salons.
She writes…Salons, popular among intellectually curious and avant-garde Jewish women from the eighteenth century onward, are re-appearing in the 21st century as an opportunity for thoughtful women to get together to mull over some of the most exciting thinking of the day. Lilith Magazine has created contemporary salons where ideas hatch and are nurtured, places where small groups of women meet for informal discussions. Salon conversations can pull in women of all ages to talk and act on many progressive fronts – reproductive freedoms, diversity in Jewish families, rights for Israeli women, and much more.
Are salons right for your organization? Read the full article here.
While we like any connection between Israel and Japan, this one makes us especially proud.
Israel is also providing tons of aid assistance – including mattresses, blankets, coats, gloves and chemical toilets.
Get the details on this story at The Jerusalem Post.
“There’s big demand for postal mailing lists lately. Despite its traditional nature, postal is still one of the most powerful channels for driving both offline and online traffic (and sales!).The key to driving quality traffic through postal is using a quality mailing list. In fact, experts agree that your choice of mailing lists is the single most important factor in driving your results.There are more than 60,000 mailing lists available. Without the right tool, it’s unlikely you’ll find your ideal lists. Fortunately, NextMark provides a Mailing List Finder tool. It’s easy to use. And, best of all, it’s free.”
“While PlayStations fill holiday gift lists, ’tis also the season for giving to the less fortunate. From donations to volunteerism, The Daily Beast ranks the cities with the biggest hearts.”
2. San Francisco
3. Kansas City
6. Minneapolis-St. Paul
11. Los Angeles
14. New York
15. St. Louis
20. San Diego
25. Tampa-St. Petersburg
In his position, Surman will be responsible for growing both the print and digital revenues of the Forward – including both English- and Yiddish-language newspapers and websites – while managing and overseeing their business operations. Prior to joining the Forward, Surman co-founded and led Eye Multimedia LLC, a multimedia startup, and also consulted for a variety of businesses and not-for-profit projects.
Before that, Surman was the vice president of new business and strategic development, and vice president for classified advertising, for the New York Daily News. In those positions he was responsible for strategic partnerships, investment and acquisition activities, as well as leading advertising and classified sales teams. Surman also held a series of management roles at The New York Times in sales and marketing, product development and management, and corporate strategy and acquisitions; he worked in – or closely with – business units in multiple media segments, including digital media, newspapers, magazines, radio, and television broadcasting and production.
Earlier in his career, Surman was a management consultant with McKinsey & Company and a professional journalist. His writing and photography have appeared in The New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, Congressional Quarterly, Technology Review and other outlets.
“Since launching in October, (Paul) Pruett has been able to get Bubble Chocolate onto the shelves of more than 1,000 retailers — mostly independent stores, but also a few large chains like Whole Foods. So far, he hasn’t done much marketing except for some in-store demonstrations. How can Pruett persuade Americans to pay a premium for chocolate pumped full of air? We asked four entrepreneurs to weigh in.”
Lautman Maska Neill & Company is proud that three campaigns – which successfully raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for three wonderful organizations – were awarded Silver Maxis by the Direct Marketing Association of Washington (DMAW).
The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) multi-channel Department of Defense Campaign, the Masonic Children and Family Services of Texas acquisition package and the Center for Jewish History Calendar of Events renewal were all recognized by the DMAW for their stellar results and creative excellence.
The Maxi ceremony, held Monday, July 26th at the beginning of the Bridge Conference, was a great reminder that solid fundraising strategy (in a creative package) yields great results!
Congratulations to all of our associates at Lautman, Maska Neill & Company.
Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av is by far the saddest day in the scope of Jewish history.
Both the First Temple and the Second Temple were destroyed on that day and many other tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people happened on the very same day.
We mark the day with a 25-hour fast and many other customs of mourning. For details, there is a good article here.
There continues to be some dissonance in modern day Israel’s attitude towards Tish B’Av. The Jewish State is reborn and the Jewish people alive and well after a long exile. Problems remain to be sure, but none-the-less here Israel is, now home to half of the world’s Jewish population.
Still we continue to mourn.
An easy fast and better times ahead.
It sounds like a headline from the Onion, but it’s not.
You can read the full story in Ha’aretz Online.
Potatoes also happen to be Israel’s biggest agricultural export.
That’s great synergy.
“Jonathan Levav is an Associate Professor of Business at Columbia Business School. He has authored numerous articles published in trade journals, focusing on consumer culture and market research. His areas of expertise lie in: Consumer Behavior, Consumer Debt / Credit Cards, Consumer Savings Behavior and Consumer Spending.”
“How do you market your products in a global economic crisis? Professor Jonathan Levav analyzes the consumer fear that grips the market place and fuels lower sales, creating a cycle of downturn. Levav keys us into some tips and tricks of the trade in trying to market your products and earn a profit in a tough climate.”
A Production of http://www.leadel.net and http://www.eurojewcong.org ; The European Jewish Congress and its President Moshe Kantor.