Direct Mail Still Works
by Kelly Lucas, marketing and social media manager
I recently attended and exhibited at the Society for Marketing Professional Services’ (SMPS) Build Business: Dream Big conference at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. I had some spare time and decided to walk around Downtown Disney, which boasts the world’s largest Disney store. As I was looking through the endless rows of merchandise, I was struck by how large a portion of the souvenirs were retro-themed, using the old park and attraction logos from the 70s and 80s. Personally, I loved seeing these, as they were what I grew up with, but I also found it amusing as the old adage has once again been proven true: What’s old is new again.
Likewise, direct mail, for a while considered old fashioned and passé, is once more becoming a way to stand apart from the crowd. Prior to attending the conference, we had put together a scratch-n-sniff postcard that we sent out to all registered attendees. We wanted to send out something ahead of time and invite them to stop by our booth and chat with us, but we didn’t want to go the standard route of an email blast. More and more, people are relying on emails for their pre-conference correspondence. So we decided to create our scratch-n-sniff cards, mailed them out and waited to see what sort of reaction we’d get at the SMPS show.
The response was amazing. At the start of the show several attendees came up to me and complimented us on the postcards. It wasn’t just that they enjoyed the scratch-n-sniff aspect (it smelled like apples); they loved that it was a print piece versus email. Three separate people made a point to tell me that they couldn’t remember if any other vendor sent anything, but they definitely remembered our mailer. I honestly lost count after the first day, as it was a constant flow of people commending us on a great marketing piece. It wasn’t elaborate or expensive, it was different and it worked!
Let me state for the record that there’s nothing wrong with emails – there is definitely a place for them in nearly every marketing strategy. However, with so many piling up in our inboxes, it’s easy for yours to get lost in the mix. Plus, most people have gotten into the habit of quickly scanning through and deleting any emails that aren’t immediately work-related. Print mail used to suffer from this same sort of issue. People would receive so many fliers and postcards that they wouldn’t even bother reading through the printed information. With email, the senders save considerable time and money by doing everything online and sending information almost as quickly as they can type it out. It’s typically much more efficient, but because of this, now everyone is doing it and no one really stands out anymore.
We wanted to stand out and boy did we ever! As I stated earlier, what’s old is new again. Print mail, when done properly, can now differentiate your firm from the rest. If you are about to institute a new marketing campaign, I encourage you to consider adding a print piece to the mix. Yes, it will probably cost a little more time, effort and money than just sending out a quick email blast, but the potential ROI could be much higher. Our simple postcard is a testament to this, as we are now talking to potential new clients thanks in part to their affinity for the scratch-n-sniff apple smell.