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Commentary & Analysis

Now THAT’s the Way to Get the Message Out!

A look at one printer’s effort to reach out to the design and marketing community to promote the value of direct mail—and not just any direct mail, but direct mail designed to drive website traffic. It’s a real eye-catcher and great inspiration.

By Heidi Tolliver-Walker
Published: June 26, 2018

Any time I see an article or white paper on reasons to use direct mail, I check it out. I want to see how the value of direct mail is being presented and by whom. So when I saw an email from Target Marketing offering a white paper titled “10 Reasons You’d Be Crazy Not to Use Direct Mail to Drive Website Traffic,” of course, I downloaded it. It turns out, it’s a great example of what to do right.

The front of the white paper features a guy in a crazy blue wig and bright green plastic glasses (clearly going after the creative community), but it’s the title that grabbed me. It stood out because it presents an often overlooked value of direct mail, which is driving traffic online. With all the focus on online and social media marketing, it’s easy to forget the need to get people to the client’s website in the first place. That is often accomplished using print. This headline is a showstopper for that very reason. It reminds us of something we forgot.

The white paper opens with the number one reason to use direct mail to drive web traffic: response rates. But the image isn’t a piece of mail in the mailbox. It’s one that demonstrates brain activity, with a comparison between how print and digital communications impact the brain differently. The image draws the connection between not only the “what” (direct mail vs. digital) but the why. This was followed by a graphic contrasting response rates and costs per acquisition between direct mail and a variety of digital channels.

The white paper goes through nine more reasons to use direct mail, each one touching on data that those of us in the industry have seen a million times. What’s refreshing is that it ties that data back to the premise of driving website traffic. It takes something familiar and applies it differently. The end result is the reader saying, “Huh! I hadn’t thought about it that way before.”

The impact, then, isn’t from one component or another. It’s cumulative effect. Maybe the white paper won’t cause readers to run out and create a direct mail campaign right now, but it does continue to keep direct mail front and center and remind them of things they had perhaps forgotten or overlooked. Besides, those of us in the print industry may have seen these data a million times, but that doesn’t mean that our target audience has.

When I got to the end, I saw that the contact on this was not Target Marketing, but Compu-Mail. This was a pleasant surprise. Compu-Mail, a provider of data-driven marketing solutions in Grand Island, N.Y., is doing something few printers do: demand generation. Marketers and creatives are not looking for reasons to use more direct mail. Printers have to create this demand for them. Compu-Mail is getting in front of marketers and creatives, saying, “Hey! Pay attention! You’re leaving opportunity on the table!”

Are you doing the same? Are you creating your own demand-generating content and getting it out there? This requires not just investing the time and capital to develop a strategy, but executing it. It must be a priority in terms of time and budget. A few printers do a great job at this. Most don’t. I can’t tell you how many companies have contracted with me over the years to write blog posts or white papers for content marketing, but either the effort never gets off the block or it peters out over time because the process takes more of a time commitment than the printer realized or because there is no direct tie-back to revenue generation in the short-term.

This is where I give Compu-Mail a lot of credit. They have been doing content marketing for awhile now. More printers should be doing the same. Your customer base isn’t going to seek out this information on their own. You have to get it in front of them, and you have to keep doing it...over and over. It has to be a regular part of your company DNA. If you don’t, who will?

Oh, yes. Companies like Compu-Mail.

 

Heidi Tolliver-Walker Heidi is an industry analyst specializing in digital, one-to-one, personalized URL, and Web-to-print applications. Her Marketer’s Primer Series, availalbe through Digital Printing Reports, includes “Digital Printing: Transforming Business and Marketing Models,” 1:1 (Personalized) Printing: Boosting Profits Through Relevance,” “Personalized URLs: Beyond the Hype,” and “Web-to-Print: Transforming Document Management and Marketing.”

 

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