Social Media is not direct marketing

Should social media be judged by direct marketing standards?

Direct Marketing has a specific purpose.

Direct marketing is designed to create instant response or specific revenue goals.

It is not public relations, brand advertising or even customer relations though it can help to enhance and add to any of these areas.

Direct marketing is easily measurable and can and should be judged on its performance.

Social media is more like public relations, brand advertising & customer relations though it can help to enhance and add to direct marketing projects.

Social media is not easily measurable and should not be judged on its direct marketing performance.

Social media does not, and cannot replace direct marketing.

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QR Code Offer

Here’s a great offer available from the Postal Service from July 1st through August 31st, USPS is offering 3% OFF of postage on direct mail pieces containing a mobile barcode (QR code). This promotion is the latest and actually a good idea. It’s designed to help entice mailers to test mobile barcodes on their direct mail. A QR code (mobile barcode) is a 2 dimensional barcode that is scanned and read by a smart phone.

Program Details The program runs from July 1, 2011 through August 31, 2011 and is available for First Class, Standard and Non-Profit Mailers who incorporate a two-dimensional barcode either on the face or inside every piece in the mailing that is designed to direct the user to a promotional website. Mailers will receive an upfront 3% discount on postage for mailings that meet program requirements. Program Requirements

• First Class, Standard and Non-Profit mail is eligible.

• All mail pieces must include a mobile two-dimensional barcode on the face or within the mail piece. • The barcode must be used for marketing purposes only.

• Postage must be paid via permit imprint and all postage documentation must be submitted to the USPS electronically.

• Co-mailing customers are eligible to participate in this program.

For more information on the promotion, https://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=mobilebarcode

Every Door Direct (EDDM)

Here’s a wonderful use of EDDM – Every Door Direct Mail.

When Randi Slocum’s dog Kaylee ran away from her Stillwater, NY home, Randi’s mother, Carolyn, decided to try Every Door Direct Mail to notify residents in Stillwater and nearby Schuylerville, NY, of the dog’s disappearance. The flyer helped unleash a series of phone calls, and that helped lead to Kaylee’s safe return.

A happy ending and a neat story. So is EDDM a great new option from USPS? 

It may be a new option for looking for lost pets, neighborhood civic notices & other small quantity door hanger material distribution like pizza or chinese food menus, but I do not see a real benefit of this simplified addressing option.

Here’s my view on EDDM as published in April’s edition of DMAW – MARKETING AdVents

“Every Door Direct” – A Hard Sell

As most of you know, USPS started a new Simplified Addressing format called “Every Door Direct Mail” targeted to small businesses. Advertised benefits include: delivery to every address in a selected area, reduced costs and time-to-market, and the elimination of puchased mailing lists or the printing of specific names and addresses on mail pieces.

Foregoing mailing lists and even the need to inkjet addresses on mail pieces altogether sounds interesting. To qualify, mail pieces must meet Standard Mail “flat” requirements.  But the simple fact is that the new format will not save much when compared to printing a traditional tri-fold at saturation rate. But even if it does end up saving a few pennies it will not be good for our industry and here’s why.

Every Door Direct is simply mass advertising, which has caused problems in our industry for years.

I’ve been selling direct mail services for more than 2 decades and I’ve spent much of this time trying to convince businesses that mass marketing or shotgun approaches to advertising are not very efficient or effective. Targeting & measurability are the main powerhouse traits of direct mail that have a clear advantage over any other media. I believe the post office should be embracing and promoting the strongest benefits of direct mail.

Why would USPS want to promote another mass mailing service? 

I do agree that there are some exceptions where saturation mail is beneficial. But overall the more un-targeted pieces people get in the mailbox, the more likely they will be to ignore targeted mail, diluting response rates and and negatively affecting our industry in the long run. Don’t they know that this may actually discourage people from using direct mail rather than encouraging them to do so?

Plus when the focus is on saving money in the production of direct mail we lose. Direct mail is not cheap, and never will be a cheap form of advertising. We need to focus instead on how direct mail can be very beneficial and actually make money for the small business owner.

Will Every Door Direct really increase revenue for USPS? In my opinion it will not. I also predict that Every Door Direct will probably just fade away without much notice.

I understand it was launched with good intentions and we all know the post office needs revenue, but my advice to USPS is to spend less time and money trying to “sell” direct mail and concentrate instead on improving delivery and customer service. This will actually do much more to generate growth and new business.

Coupons & On-Sale purchases at record highs

According to a recent Nielsen survey “On-Sale” Items and “Coupon” purchases are at record highs.

Retailers are seeing this trend across the country. It’s having a noticeable effect on virtually every category and size of retailer.

70% consumers are buying items “On Sale”

59% consumers are using “coupons”

37% consumers are shopping at “value retailers” such as dollar stores & super centers

35% are purchasing Value packs

25% are shopping closer to home or work

18% are switching to cheaper health & beauty products

17% are purchasing smaller packages with a lower unit price

However, this is actually good new for retailers who understand direct marketing. The climate is ripe for great direct mail response.

In this economy customers welcome relevant and timely direct mail offers. They will respond to credible offers and incentives that have true value.

Just make sure you offer real incentives and real value.

In direct marketing, incentives have always worked well, but they work only when they are “real” incentives. Plus make sure that your “offer” is exclusive to the promotion and custom to the media. When you offer the same incentive on TV, Radio &/or Newspaper the offer can be diluted and your project will under perform.

When a customer feels that their particular “coupon” is really not necessary to actually receive the advertised offer, they will perceive it as worthless. Remember don’t use direct mail advertising as “branding”. Use it correctly as a sales tool and it will bring in much needed revenue.