Memorable marketing solutions exclusively for small businesses in Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire    Oct 2007




Saying it directly ...

Direct Mail is a much maligned tool within the marketing armoury.  This is largely because it's been badly used in the past by lazy marketers.  Too lazy to clean up name and address lists to make sure that they are only writing to relevant people.  Too lazy to write copy that presents true benefits clearly and concisely.  And so Direct Mail has a bad reputation.

Keep it simple and relevant

Despite this, Direct Mail can still be a very effective way of introducing your company and its products and services to a large number of potential customers.  The trick is to keep it simple and relevant to the reader.  And that means extra work for you.

Firstly, you need to be very clear in how you define your target customers.  That will allow you to refine the name and address list that you will be using down to only those that are likely to be interested in your proposition. It may be that you need to split the list into multiple separate mailings in order to keep the relevancy high.

Secondly, you must make sure that your mail piece is written so that the benefits that you highlight really are benefits in the eyes of the reader, and are the ones most relevant and valued by them.

Thirdly, make sure that any graphical design and layout ideas for the mail piece serve to make it easier to read and understand.  Many of the mail pieces that I receive don't stick to this approach and are triumphs of form over function ... they go immediately into the bin (where they belong!).

Picking the right medium

There are a number of choices of medium for Direct Mail -letters, leaflets, novelties, postcards, email.  Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.  Also, the cost differential between them can be sizeable.

Letters can be very effective where you are targeting business people and your offer is quite formal.  Leaflets (on their own or accompanying a letter) are useful where you want to explain something complicated using graphics.  Novelties are good attention grabbers, but only when the 'novelty' is genuinely novel and somehow relevant.  Nothing tacky please.

Postcards can be more effective than letters in many situations as they don't need to be opened before they can be read.  They are also very good at making you think hard about how to shorten your copy to make it more effective!

Email is by far the cheapest form of Direct Mail, but has been so abused that it has been awarded its own verb ... 'to spam'.  Email is most effective when sent to people who already know of you rather than as a cold-calling vehicle.  This is because the twin plagues of spam and email borne viruses have taught recipients to be very suspicious of contacts from unknown sources.  And quite right to.

When choosing the medium for your Direct Mail, an intimate knowledge of your target customers has an extra advantage.  Not only will the mail piece be better designed and written, but you can also make an informed selection as to the most cost-effective medium.

Memorable marketing

Thinking and working pragmatically like this will help you to make your marketing work better for you in a more memorable way. This means that your target customers will be able to differentiate your products and services from those of your competitors and clearly see the value in buying from you.

If you would like some advice on memorable marketing techniques for your own business, or you know someone at another business who might need help, then please contact Adduce Marketing. The sooner you start, the sooner you will benefit.


Using Direct Mail

Download this handy guide which explains how to get the best from utilising Direct Mail in order to improve business effectiveness.

Written by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as part of their Directors' Briefing series, this document makes easy reading for business people of all experience levels.


Marketing Effectiveness Assessment

A free service to small businesses in the Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire area, the Marketing Effectiveness Assessment delivers a professional audit of how a business is using the tools of marketing to communicate to existing and potential customers. It also includes a series of simple and cost-effective marketing activities that the business can implement immediately and at low cost.

Download the factsheet now.


Useful Links ...

Adduce Marketing

Chartered Institute of Marketing

Marketing UK (information portal)