We post a lot about 'good' direct mail programs in this blog--innovative campaigns that generated new customers and sales. We like to cite industry numbers that illustrate the growth of DM, and other direct response channels. We like what we do. We like the data, analysis and database aspects of DM. We like the fact that at the end of the day, our campaigns are measurable--we KNOW we've made an impact (or not).
With all that love of marketing, sometimes it's easy to forget that the majority of the consumers out there think that Direct Marketing is right there under terrorism...Let's face it, people HATE junk mail. They hate telemarketing. They see all of it as bad, bad, bad.
See this blog from Seattle Post Intelligence, called Livin' la Vida Eco: No More Junk Mail (great headline, by the way). Author Janna Cawrse wants to "Just Say No to Junk Mail." Her post gives helpful advice as to how to remove your name from mailing lists by signing up with the Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) service.
So, here's my challenge to all of you who dabble in direct marketing. We need to make it relevant! Consumers would not hate junk mail if they didn't perceive it as junk. Anything arriving in your mail box should be relevant, should be something that you have at least a little bit of interest in. The first thought in the recipient's head shouldn't be, "Why did they kill a tree to send me THAT letter?".
Direct marketers need to make sure that they've targeted the list. We need to always be on the look-out for ways to cut the mail quantities down, by only sending to people most likely to want the offer. We need to stay on top of privacy rules and make sure that we're applying all the right suppressions (such as the DMA Do Not Mail file).
We need to always strive for customer delight and we need to listen to our customers and prospects. We need to try to reach them through the channels they want to hear from us (maybe they truly DO hate snail mail--stop sending them things!).
A direct mail campaign done right will make the company money. More important, it will not make customers mad, IF they can see a value in the offer sent to them.
I'd love to hear more ideas on how to make sure that it's not Junk Mail. Any tips, case studies, ideas out there?