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Direct mail advertising

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Jacob AndersonDirect mail advertising
by on Jul 23, 2015 at 9:11:43 am

Hello everyone! I'm new to direct mail advertising so just have a few questions to ask. How effective is it today in the field of marketing? Does the offer have to be free shipping or free gift to be successful?


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Mark SuszkoRe: Direct mail advertising
by on Jul 23, 2015 at 7:13:16 pm

I had to double-check my calendar settings upon reading this question. It is, indeed, the 21st century.


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Todd TerryRe: Direct mail advertising
by on Jul 23, 2015 at 7:20:54 pm

Well, actually I think this is just a trolling post.

Now with all due respect it MIGHT be legitimate and "Jacob Anderson" might indeed be a real person with legitimate needs...

But... based on the newness of the member sign-up, the few entries from this poster which are all very vague, seem fairly uninformed, and cover very disparate subjects... it's suspect to me.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Nick GriffinRe: Direct mail advertising
by on Jul 23, 2015 at 7:30:02 pm

A little snarky, Mark.

But yes, even in the 21st Century many, many companies are successfully using direct mail. The best approach is to first test a number of different offers, copy, layout, etc. and from that determine which produces the highest return. Then use what's worked best to go out to a much larger audience.

That said, traditionally a response of one per cent is considered good. Two percent and higher is considered fantastic.

Response to email blasts has been declining for several years and, on average, I believe to now be a fraction of a fraction of a percent.


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Richard HerdRe: Direct mail advertising
by on Jul 23, 2015 at 9:54:43 pm

Soon and very soon, we shall be receiving much direct mail from very many politicians.


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Todd TerryRe: Direct mail advertising
by on Jul 23, 2015 at 10:16:54 pm

[Richard Herd] " we shall be receiving much direct mail from very many politicians."


And we love it at my house... love every two years when elections roll around...

My graphic designer/better half churns out tons of those political direct mail pieces... some very good... some quite horrible... but she notices that the money all spends the same.

And we love doing political commercials, I couldn't even count how many I've directed. Last election we handled 11 races, 10 of our candidates won, and only one of them (so far) has done something horribly horribly embarrassing while in office (I figure one out of 10 isn't bad).

It's one of the few genres where the clients do not give a hoot what something costs and never even question a budget, and they pay you immediately... the only mandate is "Get it done! Now!"

Now, I'm an admitted hypocrite since I hate watching political advertising, but I sure love making it.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Ned MillerRe: Direct mail advertising
by on Jul 24, 2015 at 12:01:13 pm
Last Edited By Ned Miller on Jul 24, 2015 at 12:04:20 pm

Yes I bet the poster is not in our biz but here's my take. Until recently DM was very effective for me but the last year not one nibble, so I am not re-ordering. I get how it will work for the name recognition of a politician and that's all they want for when the voter enters the booth. Our problem is: TIMING.

After many years of success I recently stopped getting reprints of my slick brochure. The postage was killing me. On a slow day I may have collected 10-40 names of local execs on LinkedIn and local association directories, high up in marketing, sales, HR, corp comm, PR, etc. and I would send my tri-fold, slim jim brochure with a biz card.

Over the years I've gotten many jobs by doing that and they usually started with: "I've had your brochure on my desk (in my pile, in our files) and now we need a video and I'd like an estimate." So there is a stickiness with printed promotional material that digital advertising can't compete with. But with postage now at .49ยข, and it's crucial you keep it under one ounce, I was spending $20-$40 a day and in the last CY I received no bites. Thus I decided to not do the minimum 500 copies run for another box of brochures.

My conclusion based on doing this a long, long time is no one considers us (video vendors) until they NEED us, then they often go into panic mode if there's a tight deadline. Often someone totally outside the communications sphere is tasked with "finding somebody" quick, such as an admin. They turn to the internet. This is unfortunate because it's so hard and expensive to get great SEO, our biz is now so overcrowded.

My remedy to this is to work my referrals and there are some great books at B&N about this. It's the best way to get new biz because it's free. I've filmed many sales trainers and picked up nuggets. Try Bob Burg's Endless Referrals. Also, Marketing to the Affluent.

So in sum, the chance of your printed material arriving at the exact, right time, when they have gone into the panic mode of "Who should we call for this new video????" is very small, although I have gotten new clients by my brochure arriving, coincidentally, at the exact right time.People don't keep files like they used to, they have become digital data geeks. Many have flex offices so they don't have the old system of file cabinets, many millennials don't even have a traditional desk.

My diagnosis: Don't do direct mail advertising anymore and put that portion of your marketing budget into attending networking meetings and other techniques of meeting new clients. Join LinkedIn Groups (it's free!). Without being obnoxious prime your client base for leads to others within their sphere who have a track record of using video.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com


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Mark SuszkoRe: Direct mail advertising
by on Jul 24, 2015 at 2:30:06 pm

I can see direct mail working for something like the discount coupons I get to buy pizza at the local Papa Murphy's. I can't personally imagine basing a business decision for a company on one from a video provider. While I get and agree with Ned's point about "mind share" and being "top of mind" when a buying decision comes up, we're not in a typical commodity business. E-mail spam blasts supplanted direct mail for a lot of things, but that wave has also come and gone, and if you use email to contact and cultivate clients, you have to very, VERY carefully curate the contact list, giving something entertaining, if not otherwise valuable, because blocking your emails is easy and forever. I think one, sort of "retro" way to reach the people you want is in advertorial and actual content articles placed in the paper and online trades they read. This contains aspects of Direct Mail with the economy of email.


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Ned MillerRe: Direct mail advertising
by on Jul 24, 2015 at 10:21:06 pm

I think video production is now a commodity in most prospects' minds. Unless there's a highly specific style/skill needed, such as food, fashion, etc. the public sees us similar to hiring a tradesman like a carpenter, etc., meaning: Is he/she "good enough", reliable and affordable?

I know this because I do between 10-20 cost estimates per month, both as a micro prod co or as a shooter. I see them going to the lowest quote, especially on the crowd sourcing sites that have become so popular. We are now a commodity although our egos want to think otherwise.

And now that I have re-read my previous post I need to make this clearer: Direct Mail is highly effective in getting new clients, since it keeps you top of mind which digital can't, it's just that I'm too cheap/poor to continue using it because each piece is now around $1.11 with the postage.

I'm a filer. Our AC is on the wane so now I keep all the postcards from the HVAC companies. And that's how I got requests for estimates- the receiver kept my brochure and BC around knowing that sooner or later they were going to have a video need. That's because I sent it to only execs whose title indicated they were in need of video from time to time.

No one needs us till the need us.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
www,bizvideo.com


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Mark SuszkoRe: Direct mail advertising
by on Jul 24, 2015 at 11:11:06 pm

I'm only going to address the tag line:

"No one needs us 'til they need us."

Don't take this as a dig, because it isn't; I respect your views, and experience, but that there is passive, commodity item thinking.

As a communication professional, you have the ability to go to a potential customer and explain to him or her about the thing they don't even KNOW they need yet.

If all you want to do is bid on the jobs they think of on their own, I think you're limiting yourself. The Big Fish are the projects they don't know they need, because they don't have a visionary specialist on staff like you to point out the missed opportunities, the potentials. Are they having a staff retention issue? Problems with product knowledge on the sales floor, regarding the xyz module? A manufacturing problem with high failure rates? Price problems because they use more expensive, better raw materials than the competitors? You see what I'm driving at: these could all be helped or solved with a communications strategy, one that often involves video applications. You'd only hear about these after the fact, if they became projects at all. But it's projects like those, that are rain-makers for a producer. Projects with a real budget, a budget you sat in and helped develop!

And the thing is, when you're trawling for these hidden jobs, you're not going to be in competition with all those low-baller commodity guys in this particular niche. It's a market you opened up all to yourself, for yourself.

How do you get those? If I had the magic formula, I'd be typing this from my private island. How I *think* you get there is with the personal touch: by exploiting the contacts you've already opened up and taking them out to lunches or drinks after work, and gathering the marketing intelligence in person on what their problems are, then figuring out what if anything you could do for them to fix that.

If you're only ever waiting for the RFP's to come out, for shooting a powerpoint training piece, you might be missing the fact that they have a week-long headquarters meeting and shareholder jamboree coming up in Vegas or wherever, that needs many thousands of dollars' worth of AV support and follow-on products, not to mention the marketing vids and commercials for the new product they're going to unveil there. And, this is also important: if you're only known as "the cheap, commodity pricing guy that does low-ball work", they won't consider you for the "high profile" stuff, because admin types in business tend to pigeon-hole people as only good at one thing.

It's like the Russian nesting dolls: you might see one sales opportunity but miss the multiple additional ones underneath the outer layer.

They need you more than they know.


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Mike CohenRe: Direct mail advertising
by on Jul 27, 2015 at 3:46:57 pm

We use direct mail and see a spike in direct to customer product sales timed with each catalog.
We also do email marketing, though generally to smaller more targeted lists of past customers.
Mike Cohen


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Crystal AllenRe: Direct mail advertising
by on Sep 17, 2015 at 5:19:22 am

Direct mail marketing is still one of the effective ways of marketing. Through direct mail marketing, you are able to approach the targeted audience. To get successful in direct mailing, you need not offer things like free shipping or free gifts; you just need to build the trust of your audience.


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Ned MillerRe: Direct mail advertising
by on Sep 21, 2015 at 4:17:23 pm

I now remember why I use direct mail! It's been a few months since I've been slow and this week I have nothing to do. So after alphabetizing my spice rack and rearranging my sock drawer I decided I better do some marketing.

I have various tricks to collect exec names with certain titles that ignite my Pavlovian response and I know if I contact them, and then they have a need for a video and the desire for a new vendor, WHAM! I'm in.

However, after spending the last couple of hours hunting down their emails, which everyone hides, I now remember that my direct mail piece was the only way to reach them, even though it's expensive. I don't leave voice mail anymore. So in sum, I will update my brochure and mail them to the execs who seem like great targets yet I can't dig up their email address. It's easy to get their brick and mortar address and I have often experienced them passing the brochure around. So I will soon order a run.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
www,bizvideo.com


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