Saturday, July 16, 2011

Stupid Never Works

from Pat McGraw:

Why Direct Mail No Longer Works

Posted: 24 Jun 2011 01:12 PM PDT


On a monthly basis, I am told by a colleague that direct mail doesn’t work. And when I ask to see what it was they have done, I am presented with a piece that very much resembles what I received in the mail yesterday afternoon.

It was a plain white #10 envelope with a plan white label that read:

Pat McGraw
Pat McGraw
555 Main Street
Anywhere, US 12345

The actual address was my home address – but I do work out of my home so somehow, somewhere, my house has ended up on a business list. That, or the sender rented a list based on zip code only and elected to mail home and business addresses…

The return address was a commercial real estate firm and the postage was metered. Now, anyone with experience in direct mail will tell you that the best way to have your mail thrown out, unopened, is to use a plain white #10 envelope with an address label and metered postage. It smells like a pitch – and it’s usually a bad pitch because the sender is making basic mistakes that most likely creep over into the messaging and offer.

I was kind of bored so I figured ‘What the hell?!’ and opened the envelope in order to see what someone wanted me to buy. What I found was a 4-color product sheet that was obviously printed on standard paper from a color printer. The sheet featured 5 photographs of an office building and a list of factoids.

Address Information

Building Information such as how much square footage was available, the cost per square foot, parking space ration and required terms were then listed in a bullet list. Then there were ‘highlights’ that included the fact that the building was a Class A Medical/Office building with a medical office build out.

At the bottom of the page, in the footer, was the contact information.

No real offer. No real messaging. To be honest, I am not all that sure as to what they wanted me to do or why I should do whatever it was they might have wanted me to do.

And that’s why direct mail no longer works. Direct mail doesn’t work for those marketers that don’t understand how to properly select a list. Direct mail doesn’t work for those marketers that don’t understand that messaging and offers need to be clearly, concisely presented. Direct mail doesn’t work for those marketers that think a single direct mail effort that doesn’t test lists, messages, offers, or creative is all you need to do.

What do you think? Does direct mail work for you?

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