Offline vs online marketing, am I missing something?

by tpgrm
16 replies
What would be the advantage of not utilizing direct mail to contact decision makers. I see a number of business categories that almost totally ignore old-school, direct mail.

If you obtain a list and know where the decision maker lives, why would you not try to make direct contact with him via mail? Instead, whole categories of businesses work on seo, ppc, facebook etc and hope that maybe at some point, the customer contacts them.

I would think that it would be an easy sell, to go to a company and show them a list of street addresses where their customers live and get them on a direct mail campaign. I'm talking about an extremely small targeted list.

I'm talking about businesses with a very targeted audience, selling services that cost thousands per year.

This is a serious question. I get nervous when I see the herd going one direction and I'm inclined to go the other. Am I missing something?
#marketing #missing #offline #online
  • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
    It's a matter of profit, recurring income and fulfillment.

    People like to outsource... People like to charge a nice amount of money for certain services, and with things like SEO, it's recurring income.

    You're right though. Direct mail may be a better investment for a company, but getting them to pay you the same amount for direct mail services as they would a website, will prove to be tough!

    The direction you're heading may be a very good one. The question is, how profitable will it be for you? No doubt it would benefit your clients, but can you build a sustainable business from it?
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10548005].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Ron Lafuddy
      Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

      It's a matter of profit, recurring income and fulfillment.

      People like to outsource... People like to charge a nice amount of money for certain services, and with things like SEO, it's recurring income.

      You're right though. Direct mail may be a better investment for a company, but getting them to pay you the same amount for direct mail services as they would a website, will prove to be tough!

      The direction you're heading may be a very good one. The question is, how profitable will it be for you? No doubt it would benefit your clients, but can you build a sustainable business from it?
      Good question

      The folks at Valpak may know something about Direct Mail as a sustainable business.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valpak

      "Today, Valpak operates nearly 170 franchise offices in the United States and Canada, mailing to nearly 40 million households each month. Annually, Valpak distributes some 20 billion coupons in more than 500 million envelopes."

      Sounds sustainable.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10548946].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Oziboomer
        Originally Posted by Ron Lafuddy View Post

        Good question

        The folks at Valpak may know something about Direct Mail as a sustainable business.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valpak

        "Today, Valpak operates nearly 170 franchise offices in the United States and Canada, mailing to nearly 40 million households each month. Annually, Valpak distributes some 20 billion coupons in more than 500 million envelopes."

        Sounds sustainable.
        I still love mailing so it is not a dig at the viability or the post but maybe there is something to be learned from other businesses that could never fail like....

        Kodak

        Encyclopedia Brittanica

        Steam trains

        Taxis

        and so on.

        When they are too big to fail and the paradigm is so entrenched it seems obvious that it is just a matter of time.

        With postal services being cut back in Oz.

        With all the utilities companies charging consumers at least $3 to send out a printed copy of their bill it is only a matter of time before the old letterbox becomes obsolete.

        I'd go so far as saying it might not be too far away that letterboxes were banned by local councils.

        It might take a generation...

        ...but think.

        What a waste of time having to check the mailbox

        Modern society is so fast paced and lazy why would they even want mail anymore?

        Best regards,

        Ozi
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10548964].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author Ron Lafuddy
          Originally Posted by Oziboomer View Post

          I still love mailing so it is not a dig at the viability or the post but maybe there is something to be learned from other businesses that could never fail like....

          Kodak

          Encyclopedia Brittanica

          Steam trains

          Taxis

          and so on.

          When they are too big to fail and the paradigm is so entrenched it seems obvious that it is just a matter of time.

          With postal services being cut back in Oz.

          With all the utilities companies charging consumers at least $3 to send out a printed copy of their bill it is only a matter of time before the old letterbox becomes obsolete.

          I'd go so far as saying it might not be too far away that letterboxes were banned by local councils.

          It might take a generation...

          ...but think.

          What a waste of time having to check the mailbox

          Modern society is so fast paced and lazy why would they even want mail anymore?

          Best regards,

          Ozi
          First I'd like to thank you for making me take another look at direct mail as an option. Previously, I'd used it mostly for customer reactivation, but the ability to target any market I'm after, with pinpoint accuracy, is just too good to pass up.

          Second, I can't speak for the mail system in Oziland, but here in the U.S., the postal system isn't going anywhere, anytime soon.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United...Postal_Service

          "The United States Postal Service, also known as the Post Office, U.S. Mail, or Postal Service, often abbreviated as USPS, is an independent agency of the United States federal government responsible for providing postal service in the United States. It is one of the few government agencies explicitly authorized by the United States Constitution.

          The USPS is legally obligated to serve all Americans, regardless of geography, at uniform price and quality. The USPS has exclusive access to letter boxes marked "U.S. Mail" and personal letterboxes in the United States,"

          I like that. Mail delivery is part of the U.S. constitution.

          And that, is a lot more stable, than the shifting sands and ever-changing winds that blow from Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and the whole stinking IM world.

          Yeah, Ozi...I've seen a lot of "too big to fail" companies do just that.

          WorldCom (up to that time, the largest bankruptcy filing ever)
          Global Crossing
          XO Communications
          McLeodUSA Inc
          Williams Communications Group Inc.

          Part of the "Dot Com/tech wreck" of the early 2000's.

          I had over $250,000 in annual commissions vaporized in that mess.

          I see the same tech bubble coming with Google, Facebook and a host of other overvalued tech turds.

          No constitutional law to keep them afloat.

          So, OP...by all means...choose carefully. The shifting sands and ever-changing winds of IM, may provide a clue as to where your efforts are best cast.

          P.S. Going to the mailbox in the U.S. isn't a hardship, Ozi. In fact, people here buy and put up their own mailboxes, just for the occasion. And, whole businesses have been started around supplying custom mailboxes.

          Ain't that something?

          Ron
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10549730].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
        Originally Posted by Ron Lafuddy View Post

        Good question

        The folks at Valpak may know something about Direct Mail as a sustainable business.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valpak

        "Today, Valpak operates nearly 170 franchise offices in the United States and Canada, mailing to nearly 40 million households each month. Annually, Valpak distributes some 20 billion coupons in more than 500 million envelopes."

        Sounds sustainable.
        A lot of Valpak franchises are struggling as it is right now.

        I'm not criticizing the OPs idea... but as far as it being a sustainable business, it's a question that needs to be carefully explored by him.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10549248].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author Joe Stewart
          Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

          A lot of Valpak franchises are struggling as it is right now.

          I'm not criticizing the OPs idea... but as far as it being a sustainable business, it's a question that needs to be carefully explored by him.

          Last I heard, Bob Ross and many of his students are still doing very well with direct mail clients, though I don't know what kind of repeat business they get. The difference between ValPak and a direct mail piece is the ability of the business owner to immediately establish relevancy by seeing that the piece is relevant to their business needs. That's vs ValPak, where people have to actually open it and sort through all the coupons to see if there's anything they need.

          I've gotten to where I rarely even open ValPak anymore unless I'm looking for something specific like pizza coupons, oil change coupons, etc.

          From what I understand, you can get very targeted prospects to mail to by using EDDM, though I've never tried it - yet. :-)
          Signature

          My New "Share All" Blog Is Coming Soon! Online & Offline Marketing, More!

          http://www.UnCENTSored.com

          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10549464].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author cherrybowl
    The biggest turn off with direct mail is usually the higher upfront cost than other marketing strategies, and the slow wait for results to turn, as it requires saturation and time, but results do usually show up eventually. That's one of the advantages to direct mail. The post card or letter may be sitting their for some time stored away, and then the receiver may reach his decision cycle to take action, and then remember your mail.

    But email, social media, etc. generally have lower upfront costs, are more trackable, and give results a little faster (when done correctly). The one thing though, based on what you mentioned, is that you're going after targeted businesses, local to where the service provider is. Both of those provide a much better advantage. Have something interesting/needful/informative you can give for free, just to get them to meet with you and take a specific action with you.

    Your letter should make them want to drop what they're currently doing and make them say, "I gotta find out more about this, this sounds great/amazing/wonderful/etc", and pick up the phone and call, or just come right down to your store.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10548941].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author trevordd
    Banned
    Hello, guys! As for some marketing techniques. Have you ever tried such things as Ringostat service? It helps marketers to monitor different sources of customers and develop the correct strategy for a certain business. It is a really helpful thing. What do you think about it?
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10549406].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author animal44
    Originally Posted by tpgrm View Post

    This is a serious question. I get nervous when I see the herd going one direction and I'm inclined to go the other. Am I missing something?
    My early mentors said that the herd is almost always wrong. I tend to agree...

    We use sometimes Direct Mail mostly for customer reactivations and JV deals. We've found you get a better response from DM, however it is more costly, thus greater risk. We also find different people respond to DM than email.

    I think everyone opens an envelope with their name on it. Emails can be caught in spam filters, deleted without reading, etc...

    It's not difficult to test an offer on a subset of the list using packages or coupons or unique phone numbers...

    Here's some info from a possibly biased source:

    DMA: Direct mail response rates beat digital - Direct Marketing News

    direct mail boasts a 4.4% rate, compared to email's average response rate of 0.12%
    Depending on how one crunches the numbers, direct mail has a response rate of up to 10 to 30 times that of email — and even higher when compared to online display
    However...
    However, looking at the playing field from an ROI point of view, email is more cost-effective than direct mail or telemarketing. The report found email had the highest ROI, at $28.50, compared the $7 for direct mail.
    Here's another one...
    https://www.onlinemarketinginstitute...nversion-rate/
    Signature

    People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.
    What I do for a living

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10549993].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by animal44 View Post

      My early mentors said that the herd is almost always wrong. I tend to agree...

      We use sometimes Direct Mail mostly for customer reactivations and JV deals. We've found you get a better response from DM, however it is more costly, thus greater risk. We also find different people respond to DM than email.
      That was my first thought as well. Selling direct mail as a way to sell your customer base, or reactivate past customers is almost guaranteed to be profitable (unless the message is a terrible match to the list)

      Val Pak and other direct mass mailings tend to only make money for offers that apply to the masses, and a list of buyers isn't obtainable. For example, it's highly profitable for me to do Val-Pak or any other local direct mail coupon book to promote my retail vacuum cleaner store. Why? Because the margins are good, and there is no way to get a list of people about to shop for a vacuum cleaner.

      But personalized direct mail offers to my customers is far more profitable.
      Signature
      One Call Closing book https://www.amazon.com/One-Call-Clos...=1527788418&sr

      What if they're not stars? What if they are holes poked in the top of a container so we can breath?
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10560800].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    If your market can't stand such language use as "Where r u?", then you might want to use direct mail.

    If your market is used to "Where r u?" , then you might use digital methods.

    All kidding aside, I think it depends what you are marketing to whom.

    There is a famous case study in copywriting where a direct mail piece to high net worth
    individuals made a killing for a financial (or insurance?) service provider.

    I am finding that younger people who have grown up with smart phones rarely read email.
    If there is not research now, I there will be showing that internet and SMS is the best way
    to reach this market, and the internet and email for this market, and so on...

    From Animal44s' quote, "direct mail boasts a 4.4% rate, compared to email's average
    response rate of 0.12%", suppose you direct mail and email 10,000 people, then you
    get 400 by direct mail and 120 by email. Then you have to look at the cost of direct
    mailing 10,000 versus the cost of emailing 10,000 (including the cost of collecting
    10,000 people you can email and mail). And the offer and ROI.

    Years ago, I read about a large retailer (Bed, Bath, and Beyond?) that would get
    about $18 back for each email address on their list, each time they emailed their list.
    They probably emailed a couple of times per week. Huge bang for the dollar once
    they built their list.

    Dan
    Signature

    "If you think you're the smartest person in the room, then you're probably in the wrong room."

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10550698].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author tpgrm
    The niche I am referring to is a subset of business owners.

    To my mind, the obvious solution is to directly contact the business owners that have the problem that we can solve.

    Online solutions have the benefit of possibly obtaining their email which we do not have. But we do have their names and home addresses, and we have them today; not at some time in the future, maybe.

    Because we have such specific, actionable information, it would seem to follow that in the absence of having their email, direct mail would be the most efficient use of my prospects marketing dollar.

    Online solutions currently have more mind-share among these prospects, but I think I can convince them, if they just look at the problem in a business-minded, logical way (I know, I know, easier said than done!).

    Arguing my point on this forum has forced me to think through the advantages and disadvantages of my position. Thanks to all for your thoughtful input.

    Cheers!
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10550719].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Ron Lafuddy
    Thanks for the update.

    Sounds like you have a plan and are ready to proceed.

    And hey, if for some reason they don't bite on your idea, let them know that you intend to take it to a competitor - and mean it.

    If it's a good idea, someone will take you up on it and you'll be off and running.

    Best of luck!

    Ron
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10550925].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author LifeBizBalance
      What if direct mail and email marketing were combined? That on the postcard sent out via direct mail, is a link to a landing page that captures the prospects' email addresses? Best of both worlds?
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10559667].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author gjabiz
        Originally Posted by LifeBizBalance View Post

        What if direct mail and email marketing were combined? That on the postcard sent out via direct mail, is a link to a landing page that captures the prospects' email addresses? Best of both worlds?
        I won't do it. Why? I've tested, with several thousand postcards, very targeted markets, offering FREE report at capture page...total bust.

        BUT, if you get results, let us know, maybe my target market was wrong. Ours was a national test, not an EDDM, which probably isn't a good vehicle for most capture pages, except for freebie seekers and couponers.

        gjabiz
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10560706].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author tracyt12
    Banned
    [DELETED]
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10598323].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Robscom
      Originally Posted by tracyt12 View Post

      I like the old-fashioned offline marketing a lot. For my small local business I use some custom lapel pins. I have a small bakery, and my visitors like those pins with different breads a lot. This marketing method works great in my case
      Lapel pins? Like something you wear on a shirt?

      Care to elaborate?

      What does it like like? What does it say? Do you give them away to your current customers to wear?

      Thanks in advance. I'm curious.
      Signature
      "Do. Or do not. There is no 'try.'" -- Yoda
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10598431].message }}

Trending Topics