Happy Halloween everyone. Since it’s the day for ghosts, ghouls and goblins it seemed appropriate to talk about an interesting article on Target Marketing’s blog entitled, “Direct Mail Still Haunted by the J-Word.” Author Chet Dalzell shares an anecdote of yet another company ridiculing direct mail by labeling it as “junk mail.” In his article, he makes the case that too many people easily accept the term, particularly those involved in the communications industry. As he rightfully points out, while only the recipient of a marketing communications piece can deem whether the information is useful or “junk,” somehow the other advertising channels seem immune from having their content judged so inappropriately.
I shared a similar view last January, when I wrote that it’s time to junk the term “junk mail.” We’ve written extensively on our blog about direct mail’s strong ROI and its ability to power cross-channel marketing campaigns. We’ve provided statistics that show many consumers prefer direct mail over other marketing channels and demonstrated that today’s sophisticated database and personalization technology is making direct mail more relevant for consumers than ever.
Yet the ghastly term sticks like a pumpkin seed on the bottom of your shoe. I understand the term has been around almost as long as Dracula, and while you can’t completely put the toothpaste back in the tube (or perhaps the zombie back in the ground), as an industry we need to be ambassadors of direct mail. Let’s respectfully remind those who use the “J-Word” that it’s outdated and inaccurate. However, instead of throwing statistics at them, perhaps try a different tactic. Ask them a few simple questions that might get them to think of direct mail in a different light, such as:
- Do people consider coupons and sales offers that fit their interests to be tricks or treats?
- Do consumers benefit from receiving information about the loyalty programs they’ve joined, with options on how to redeem the rewards they’ve earned?
- With marketers always watchful of budgets, would they still use direct mail if it wasn’t effective?
Now that I’ve cleared the air on this spooky notion, it’s time to find some Halloween candy. Have a fun and safe night everyone.
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