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Direct Marketing In the COVID-19 Era

Marcus Johnson

“I don’t know.” “We’re not sure.” “Even the experts can’t say.” “Everything is still so uncertain.”

The comments above aren’t about the coronavirus. They’re about when business will “get back to normal.” Welcome to marketing in the COVID-19 era.

Lack of certainty amplifies our discomfort as we try to navigate, a day at a time, what we need to do to protect ourselves, our families, and our livelihoods. On the subject of uncertainty and maintaining equilibrium, a friend of mine offers a helpful analogy: When you’re feeling like you’re underwater, she says, you might consider allowing yourself to touch bottom. Then, you can push off and resurface faster.

We could all use a little push off now to get our bearings. Let’s see what that looks like for direct marketers.

Where do we go from here?

You’re a customer. So am I. You’ve no doubt seen your share of marketing during COVID-19: TV spots with the solo piano accompaniment and the hushed voiceover reminding you that a company is “here for you,” or that “we’re people/family,” or “now more than ever…” etc. They have filled the void created by the disappearance of a lot of the usual marketing activity in every medium. You may also have noticed a sharp drop-off in the number of direct mail packages you’re receiving, whether B2C or B2B. Like just about every other facet of society, our industry has slowed significantly.

Companies have soft-pedaled marketing messages, appropriately, during a dire time. Now, however, even though we’re not out of the woods so far as viral exposure and risk, people and businesses in many places are going back to some semblance of working, if not normal.

Three reasons to use direct mail to jump start your marketing during COVID-19

Various authors of this blog have discussed why direct mail is among the most effective of marketing tools at any time. Among the reasons: high ROI and greater efficacy of one-to-one communication. Check our SpeakingDIRECT blog archives for good resource material, including tips on how to market in our present reality. For the “right now,” you can use these three reasons to justify a back-to-market effort using direct mail:

1. Mail links people to the outside world

Mail is a lifeline, never more so than when we’re all locked down. Now, imagine a captive audience, hungry for each day’s mail delivery and willing—even eager—to spend more time with this “visitor” to their mailbox bringing news and offers from the outside world. Why? Because they’re less busy and looking for things to do, for starters. Even as we come out of lock down, mail signals a return to some kind of normal, a welcome daily visitor that draws more time and attention these days.

2. Your main prospect is waiting and willing

Now is the time when your target—aka the decision-maker—is home and, more likely than ever in recent memory, receptive to your pitch. That’s also true of their partner in deciding. You don’t often get a high-quality, highly receptive audience like that all in one place.

3. Direct mail is comfortably cost effective

Marketers love wringing the most impact out of every penny, and that’s especially true today. Direct mail gives you an opportunity to steal a march on your competition, lower your marketing risk, and maximize your ROI. With so many companies on the marketing sidelines, the field is wide open.

How about we get back to work?

I miss advertising and marketing. Maybe you do, too. I’d like to propose that it’s time to rev the engine and get back to our customers. And direct mail is just the place to start. Smartly done (which, I know, can be a challenge), direct mail is an aspect of “normal” that helps us all start to feel a renewed sense of rhythm and purpose in our lives, thank-you-very-much. And I’d argue that people are ready—even eager—to read your marketing message.

So, sell what you do or make. Don’t tie it to the times or the virus (unless, of course, that’s relevant). There is still opportunity out there.

We’re ready when you are. Now is good.

IWCO Direct can help you create a marketing strategy for a one-off mailing or a full direct mail campaign. With our in-house marketing and creative services team and high-efficiency processes and presses at your service, we’re ready to help you get back in the game.

New to direct mail? We’ll get you off to a strong start. Got a tired control? Get a new one with more pulling power. Need a control? We’ll help you test and dial in a winner. We’re ready. The market is wide open. Let’s talk soon.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2020/06/19/marketing-during-covid-19/
Marcus Johnson


Marcus Johnson

Marcus is a Senior Writer who blends creative writing and idea generation to bring copy to life for leading financial services organizations, professional sports teams, healthcare, and outdoor brands. The question this University of Minnesota graduate and former winner of the Best in Show from the National AgriMarketing Association loves to ask is, “How can I help?” When he’s not pounding out copy, he loves doing yard work, especially leaf blowing. In sports, Marcus cheers for the Humboldt Broncos, the Canadian hockey team that lost 10 players in a 2017 bus crash.

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