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Whether ‘E’ or ‘USPS,’ Direct Mail is Direct Mail!

Eventually every business addresses the same issue: traditional, printed mail or email? While each has its pros and cons, as well as fans and opponents, the discussion swirling around these two mighty marketing tools always misses a blindingly obvious — and profound — point:

They both fall under the heading of direct mail. Simple as that.

You heard right: Though everybody talks about their differences, the similarities between the two are many, and convincing. Consider: both speak directly to the recipient as a person. The most sophisticated forms of both even include the prospect’s name. Both reference something personal about the reader. (“Hey Brad, we’re running that same sale on the fishing rod you bought last year!”) Both are denigrated as “junk” or “spam” — until the email offer or direct mail piece which comes at just the right time. (Then both are seen as money-saving coupons!) Finally, both ask the reader to do something by a certain date, and offer a “carrot” for doing so.

Rather than beating up one or the other, savvy marketers are simply using both. And the savviest of all are employing them together in the same campaign. In other words, the war between them is over and they have joined forces in the battle for the consumer’s attention. The two enemies are now allies in the same foxhole!

How so? Because, just like allies in wartime, both contribute what the other can’t. While one can blitzkrieg through the internet and seize the inbox in a matter of seconds,(then just as quickly be whisked away), the other can slowly and steadily advance over many days, then hold the high ground of the kitchen table, counter or desk for days, sometimes weeks on end if the offer is compelling enough. While one (email) must be so short, it risks not being taken seriously, the other can lay out the offer in highly-detailed pages of copy. And while one is more expensive to produce and mail, the other is almost ridiculously cheap.

The contrasts are many. But the possibilites for cooperation are endless. For example, traditional mail which features an Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) can be identified and tracked as it passes through automated sorting equipment, allowing marketers to know almost to the day when it will arrive at the propect’s home. That knowledge allows these marketing companies to send out a highly-targeted email “rifle shot” with the same offer (as opposed to a mass-email “blast”) on the very day when that direct mail piece arrives. (Or a few days later, whichever strategy works best.)

There are many more synergies between the two. The point is this: with all these complementary strengths and weaknesses, the two direct mail tactics are a marketing match made in heaven!

Learn more about combined direct mail and email campaigns. Stop by Brad Chrysler’s site where you can find out all about SnailWorks, a leading-edge email/direct mail/web/mobile marketing platform and what it can do for you.

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