The Recipients: Database Considerations

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Whether simple or more complex, direct mail must always be approached in the right way. What makes it successful? The answer, in a few words, is attention to detail. And it is not just the words but everything that matters: whom you mail, what you send, how the message is put over and the way in which customers are asked to respond.

Any promotion needs to be well directed, and ther is an old saying that you are after the MAN – whoever has the Money, the Authority to commit and the Need. Direct mail is essentially promotion by post,and its close relations include putting brochures as inserts in magazines and delivering door to door. Its particular nature means it is potentiality.

Personal (essentially it can put a message in front of individuals)

Controllable (and easy to assess how well it is working}.

It is also a form of promotion that can be low cost, small scale and ideally suited to low-budget marketing and smaller businesses. It will, in fact, do many things, prompting business from prospects, maintaining business from existing customers and much inbetween.

First things first: direct mail is only a particular form of advertising-promotion by post. The term encompasses all the elements of the promotional message delivered in this way – brochures, letters, envelopes and how to orchestrate a persuasive message and create a direct mail ‘shot’ or an entire campaign.

Despite its ‘junk mail’ moniker, direct mail is used successfully by a wide range of companies, most of them perfectly respectable, Such companies include charities, acountants and publishers, as well as producers of a wide range of products and services, in organizations large and small.

Used effectively, it can produce good results and, carried out carefully and systematically, it can certainly be cost-effective. Some very simple, low-cost, approaches are possible. For example, as I was thinking about writing this, a postcard arrived from a hotel I have stayed in (and like). this is a good ‘reminder’ promotion, one addressed to people known to the company and who know the product.

I have received similar communications, aimed at keeping a particular management conference centre in the mind of the recipient. ( One such card has six pictures linked to summer events, others have used dramatic pictures such as a striking close-up of a rare breed of pig raised in the grounds.) Another promotional postcard I received recently consisted solely of an invitation to visit a web site (and made it sound like a useful thing to do).

What makes direct mail useful?
We will review these matters in turn. First, you have to have someone, or many someones’, to whom to send your direct mail.

Reference: Direct marketing in a Week : Patrick Forsyth

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