Direct Mail is the Betty White of Marketing

When the approval of the exigent rate increase was announced, it resulted in a flood of headlines proclaiming, in one form or another, the demise of direct mail. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Direct mail is a marketing darling.

In fact, I like to joke that direct mail is the Betty White of marketing. Here are six traits they have in common:

  1. Like Betty, direct mail has experienced a renaissance in popularity in recent years, even though they’ve both been around far longer than their competition.
  2. Both can play a leading or supporting role. Betty evolved from her early days with a radio program called “The Betty White Show” to her recent career resurgence in comedic sitcoms as one of the ensemble actors. Direct mail has had a similar role, experiencing a resurgence in vertical markets including financial services and automotive. While it has evolved from a stand-alone marketing tool to a key element of an integrated marketing plan, it still can command the spotlight.
  3. Both Betty and direct mail have become more sophisticated in how they appeal to their audiences. Betty’s quips are more topical and delivered with perfect timing. Direct mail is more targeted and delivered with perfect timing.
  4. Both drive the desired response.
  5. Betty and direct mail have a strong following among the younger generation. It was a viral Facebook movement that landed her a spot as host of SNL in 2010, and her 2012 show “Off Their Rockers” initially rated very high with the 18-49 demographic. Direct mail is also well received by younger markets.
  6. Like Betty’s ability to attract new viewers to a show, direct mail remains the best way to attract new customers to your product or service.

Thinking of Betty makes me a little nostalgic for her role as Sue Ann Nivens on the Mary Tyler Moore Show. I loved her acid-laced quips delivered in that saccharin-sweet voice and accompanied by a big smile, which became a sneer as she turned away from the camera. If she worked in direct marketing, I’m sure she would have a few choice one-liners for those who continue to pronounce the demise of direct mail.

– Debora Haskel

P.S. I’d like to wish Betty a very happy birthday today. Happy 92nd!

Image Source: Hollywood Reporter

Blog Author

Debora Haskel
Vice President of Marketing. Graduate of Syracuse University. Bringing the “there’s no such thing as good enough” philosophy to IWCO Direct since 2000. Single Source Award winner while at Banta, antique auction aficionado and New York Yankees supporter since age 4.

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2 Responses

  1. Katherine says:

    This is one of the best pieces on print marketing I’ve read in a long time. Catchy, cute, and very creative.

    Happy Birthday to the woman who inspired this post!

  2. Paul Bobnak says:

    Nice post, Debora – I like the analogy! She’s one of my favorites, as is William Shatner, for pretty much the same reasons.

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