So, spurred on by the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s latest research that direct mail is most definitely the comeback kid in the business to business sector you have decided to ‘experiment’ with this medium.
Before you even think about picking up your pen, follow our 4 step process. You’ll save money and the Promised Land that’s emblazoned with sales symbols galore will be within your arm’s reach of desire.
1. Establish sound objectives for your direct mail campaign. For example, if you are entering a market with many competitors but you are new to this market your goal should be volume; to build awareness rapidly before moving to engaging on a one-to-one level as opposed to making a fast buck. With direct mail you can acquire an abundance of new customers at an acquisition cost that should not make your eyes water. If on the other hand your aim is to continue selling your products or services in a mature market in which you are established and you have a healthy client base, then direct mail is the perfect tool to sell more to your existing customers. Information rich communications with genuine offers underpinned by great value will do the trick.
2. Be clear on how you will position your brand. This is definitely not highfalutin marketing theory! You have to be able to project the personality of your brand and your values within your mailshot to stand out and apart for the right reasons. Take a look at the insurance companies for inspiration. Distinct and engaging personalities have emerged in the shape of most notably Go Compare, Churchill, Direct Line and Compare the Market. You may offer products and services that are offered by many other businesses but that’s no excuse for firing off a generic bland message if you want your mailshot to deliver impact and maintain it.
3. Contemplate how you will demonstrate that you’re a prodigious giver of value. You may have heard of the PIMS Forum (Profit Impact of Marketing Strategies). 3000 companies in Europe and the US take part. The aim is to find out the effect that marketing strategies have on profits. One finding is that companies perceived by customers as giving value for money tend to be “infinitely more profitable than companies that don’t focus on giving value.” (Commonsense Direct and Digital Marketing 5th edition by Drayton Bird). Within the exquisite little bundle that will comprise your direct mailshot, you’re going to have to communicate how you deliver value. Don’t overcomplicate. If you have built your brand on placing the customer at the centre of your universe it’s worth documenting on a step-by-step basis precisely how you have done this and then deciding which of these elements will make it into your mailshot.
4. Make a list of what you must do to get started before you actually do get started! For example:
- Do you need to buy or rent a list of cold prospects for one time or multiple use?
- Do you need to have your customer or prospect CRM database cleaned or profiled externally?
- Have you researched your target audience sufficiently to understand the needs that will propel them to respond to your mail shot?
- Do you have the resources in-house to manage your direct mail campaign from concept to mail out or will you need to use the enclosing and despatch services of a fulfilment house?
- Are your team members poised for action? For example have your account handlers or sales people diarised in the time to pick up the phone and follow-up after the mailshots have landed?
If any of this advice has resonated with you, please post your comments below.