So here we are again, everyone’s favorite time of year! It’s time for Cinderella stories, bracket-busting upsets, buzzer beaters, Jim Nance, and Dickie V to come together in one bright and shining moment. March Madness in all its glory. This year is even more special for the folks at IWCO Direct because the Final Four is coming to our hometown, Minneapolis. Hosting the Final Four means we can enjoy the entire tournament, regardless of how our favorite teams perform.
With my team, the Indiana Hoosiers, out of the running (for the NCAA Tournament, anyway), I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on all that is great about college basketball. Is there any person that embodies this more than Mike Krzyzewski (better known as Coach K) does? His results are incredible:
- 38 years as head coach at Duke—second all-time longest active tenure with a single team;
- 1,126 wins as a head coach (so far)—the most all time;
- Five national championships—fourth all-time leader;
- 94 NCAA tournament game wins—the most all time (men’s);
- 12 Final Four appearances—third all-time leader;
- Three Olympic gold medals;
- Three Naismith Coach of the Year awards.
In addition, he served in the army for five years, has been married for fifty years, raised three daughters, and has nine grandchildren. Mind boggling.
Direct Mail Campaigns Have a Legacy of Winning, Too
Because I get so wrapped up in basketball and direct marketing, I can’t help but notice that Coach K and direct mail campaigns share similar qualities. Just like basketball fans have come to appreciate Coach K’s consistent performance, marketers have come to depend on the same sort of consistent performance from the direct mail channel.
We know that mail continues to be a rock star, even in today’s omnichannel marketing environment. In fact, our experience shows direct mail campaigns, when integrated with digital marketing, make online efforts more credible and therefore more likely to be opened. When she looked at the 2018 DMA Response Rate Report, my colleague Debora Haskel found that the response rates for direct mail far exceeded any other channel.
Coach K once said: “In leadership, there are no words more important than trust.” I would argue 99.7% of Americans would trust Coach K with just about anything. (The other 0.3% are North Carolina fans—bless their hearts.) Mike Krzyzewski lets his actions, rather than his words, define who he is. No hair flip, no Instagram account, nothing gone viral… just results, both on the court and in life.
Direct mail is a marketing channel leader because marketers trust mail to get the job done by delivering compelling, relevant messaging to recipients that drives them to take action. And consumers trust mail, too. It may not be as flashy as its digital cousins, but it’s an essential part of any successful direct marketing strategy.
I wonder if we will ever come up with a different nickname for Mike Krzyzewski or simply call him by the title he so richly embodies: Coach K.
Good luck to all of you with your favorite team and your NCAA brackets!
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