Media Series – Issue 7: Direct Mail Advertising

Iowa Direct Mail Advertising

Overview of Direct Mail

Direct Mail is a form of “Direct” or “Direct Response” marketing. In effect, it is simply a customized piece of mail sent only to targeted consumers. It is called “Direct” because it circumvents traditional mass media and goes directly to the home or office of the consumer. Although measurements vary, it is generally considered to be either the third or fourth largest advertising medium behind TV, Newspaper and, sometimes, Radio.

Direct Mail Advertising


Upside of Direct Mail

Some of the upside I mentioned above, but there are a number of very good reasons why direct advertising can be advantageous.

  • The format is extremely flexible. There are few rules or limitations beyond good taste and your budget.
  • A unique piece gets you noticed. You can have a strong visual impact and differentiate yourself versus the rest of the mail.
  • It is easy to fit a campaign to your budget. Mail more or fewer pieces based on the amount you want to spend.
  • If you put in the effort, you can target your mailings to effectively hit the target audience. It can be very focused.
  • On a per piece basis, it is relatively inexpensive. You can spend lavishly on a very decorous piece but it isn’t necessary.
  • With modern technology, it’s quite easy to personalize your mail piece to each specific consumer.

  • Downside of Direct Mail

    Direct advertising is not without its pitfalls, though, and while there aren’t very many of them they are significant.

    • While the printing and mailing can be inexpensive, building a good database can be both time-consuming and expensive.
    • A campaign consisting of only direct mail is somewhat limited. It is better when used as a component of a larger campaign.
    • Direct mail pieces generally arrive uninvited and are very easily discarded. They’re often seen as “junk” mail.

    Main Thing To Know About Direct Mail Advertising

    Like OOH, Direct Mail is generally not a great option as a stand-alone medium. It is a very good complement, though, to a multi-faceted campaign. The best part about it is you can really customize the format to align well with your brand. The next best thing is that it can work with any budget. It is literally as big or small as you want it to be. If you’re going to do Direct Mail, spend your money on two things. Number 1: Build the right list. It may cost more but the increased response is worth it. Number 2: Do a high quality piece. If your piece doesn’t make your brand cut through the clutter it ends up in the trash without a second look.

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    Article written by John Howard

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    John is the founder and President of Frontera Marketing Group. A graduate of the University of Iowa, John had more than 20 years of professional experience in Sales and Marketing prior to founding FMG. His corporate background included a number of companies, industries and roles including National Account Manager, Product Manager, Brand Manager, Director of Trade Marketing, Director of Marketing and Vice-President of Marketing.

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    One Comment


    1. student loans

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      January 23rd, 2011 at 5:59 pm Reply

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