Direct Mail — The “Snail Mail” Kind — Never Goes Out of Style

A number of years ago, a colleague of mine gave me a book on fractals to read and it was fascinating! At least I thought so. It was all about how nature is made up of fractals that operate in a systematic way to create patterns (in clouds, in leaves, in trees—in everything!). It’s all very mathematical (and I didn’t understand much of the really technical content…) but the images were fascinating and the idea that there are patterns—often predictable patterns—in everything around us, was very compelling, I thought.

I think about fractals and patterns a lot (yes, I know that may seem “odd”…), and I thought about patterns a lot several years ago as I started to research—in truth, as I started to just think about starting to research—my book Direct Marketing in the Digital Age, which was released more than a decade ago! It was an update to my 1992 book, Direct Mail, which is out of print. That book, of course, only addressed the old “snail mail” form of direct mail. The newer book considered the impact of new technology on direct marketing.

Technology, of course, has expanded in leaps and bounds since 2011. Yet, traditional snail mail continues to be a viable option for many marketers in both B2B and B2C settings. Why? Because it stands out.

Two key points also stood out to me back then:

  1. The basics are going to apply regardless of the delivery mechanism. Effective direct mail, of the snail mail variety, requires an attention getting headline (or subject line), compelling copy that addresses target market needs and a clear call to action combined with an easy means for potential customers to place an order. So does digital direct mail!
  2. What goes around comes around. While online direct marketing has obviously grown rapidly over the years, I suspect that the old-fashioned form of marketing will continue to be relevant. It’s a pattern.

These points still stand out to me.

Traditional direct mail still offers the opportunity to target very specific market segments. And, unlike other traditional marketing tools, it’s highly measurable. You can determine what works, what doesn’t, and what works better than something else, through various types of testing. It’s very similar to the measurability of online marketing efforts although, admittedly, with not as much granularity.

While traditional direct mail marketing is more expensive (you have printing and postage costs that you don’t online), the expense may be (may be) worth it, if it can generate more positive response.

The basics of creating great marketing content, whether digital or traditional, are really the same. And both of these formats will continue to ebb and flow as one channel gets more cluttered as the other offers opportunities to stand out.

It’s a pattern.


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Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We work with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content. Whether on- or offline, or both, we’ll help you achieve desired results at reasonable rates.

In addition to content creation we specialize in helping B2B clients raise awareness and drive website traffic through a strong LinkedIn and Twitter presence.

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