I’ve had several people ask me about the future of direct mail and I wish sometimes that I knew it all and could answer you “for sure” but that role is up to God only. Here are some of my thoughts currently on direct mail:
Comment 1: No one reads it anymore. It’s useless to send it out.
Julie’s Take: I read it. So does my neighbor. But than again, I am in “the industry”. Some people (besides me) do still read (and enjoy) their mail. But other people still don’t have internet access and don’t want it.
Comment 2: What about catalogs? I read about companies all the time that are cutting their catalog distribution in half and moving to online shopping.
Julie’s Take: I have to say that I hate the sheer amount of paper that ends up around my house-and much of it comes through the mail. (Yes, I say this even though I read most of it because there is just too much.) I have gone to online billing whenever possible to cut down on paper and I almost immediately throw catalogs in the recycle bin.
I agree with the decision that many companies are making to cut catalog production-they are pricey to print and mail, many of us toss them without ordering and of course, they are not usually eco-friendly. (I haven’t seen catalogs yet that are embedded with seeds to plant.) I recommend that companies get on the internet mostly, with the idea that perhaps some catalogs should be available to those who won’t upgrade their lives. The audience still the most likely to want paper catalogs is the senior generation.
Comment 3: Won’t people be turned off these days if they get a series of mailings from a company for environmental reasons?
Julie’s Take: Short answer? Very possibly. Keep it in mind when planning your marketing-especially if you are marketing for a green or eco-friendly product, company or organization.
Comment 4: Does all of that mean that direct mail is a lost cause?
Julie’s Take: No. You can still send out direct mail and still generate sales or fund-raising if it is written effectively and mailed to a target audience. But be very aware that the consumer mind is turning more and more to online marketing. A sales page online that is written and marketed well can bring you far more traffic and help our environment too.