Some of us here at Rapport are actually old enough to remember a time when electronic communication was considered to be a radio or TV commercial. It was a time when being smart about reaching and converting your target audiences had less to do with permission-based email programs and more to do with innovative approaches to advertising in all available media and perhaps even more importantly, direct marketing.
Direct marketing or direct mail as it was more commonly known, was one of the most powerful forms of advertising outside of television, and relative to television, cost considerably less.
The Computer Caused The Mail Bag To Shrink
With the advent of web advertising and email marketing, traditional direct mail went through a fairly substantial downturn. Mainly because, it was argued, that its computerized counterpart was much more cost effective to produce. Admittedly, when this revolution first began, the numbers e-marketing generated was quite substantial. But like any uncontrolled marketing environment, the inboxes of millions of people started to become so cluttered with ‘spam’ thanks to hackers who were hijacking email lists, that it became increasingly difficult for the recipients to sort out the spam from the legitimate emailers.
Today, of course, there is all kinds of spam protection for both the public and businesses on targeted lists, but some bells can’t always be un-rung.
This is not to say that Internet marketing is not still capable of producing excellent results if it is done correctly. Let’s just say, that advertisers are now seeing that it’s not necessarily the ‘be all and end all’ that it was once thought to be.
The Direct Mail Resurgence
Over the past few years, we’ve begun to notice something of a renaissance in direct mail marketing. It’s certainly not at the level it was in the golden pre-internet age. But a great many advertisers who used to rely heavily on direct mail appear to be returning to it as a complement to their e-marketing efforts.
Obviously these advertisers, many of whom are quite large (Rogers, Amex, Visa,
Bell, etc.), understand that the advantages of traditional direct mail are still very much smart business, even in this day and age of internet based communications.
Doing The Modern Thing vs Doing The Right Thing
Effective communication has always been about understanding your client’s product or service and their target audience, then recommending a plan of action that will be effective in reaching and persuading that audience.
In a number of cases that recommendation could involve traditional direct mail, either on its own or as a complement to other e-based tools. At Rapport, it’s always been about maintaining a high level of awareness of the power of all the various media we have at our disposal.
And these days, a lot of the intelligence we’re getting tells us that there has been a genuine resurgence in traditional direct mail programs.
Here is a downloadable list of some of the main advantages of traditional direct mail. As you read through it you will see that, in spite of the fact that traditional direct mail may seem rather old fashioned, the logic behind it is as sound and potentially beneficial as it ever was.