Direct Mail: Is it Dead?


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It’s been too long since my last post… In the past few months, I’ve been seeing an increased interest in Direct Mail, so I thought I’d post some thoughts and get feedback from everyone out there.

There’s no question, that direct mail isn’t considered one of the cheapest marketing channels lately, especially with the volume and production you can get out of email. However, there’s alot to be said of mixing your marketing mediums and attracting a different type of customer. When digging through my bills and other junkmail (i’ll classify bills as junk mail), I always appreciate a nice, high-quality, personalized mail piece in my mailbox. It’s old school, but get’s my attention sometimes more than an email with blocked images and no visible text (yes marketers still do that, I know some of the worst offenders out there).

I’ve had the opportunity recently to visit with a new friend of mine Kent Merrill with Merrill-Remington Direct Marketing. Kent has a tremendous amount of Direct Marketing experience, and has been a direct mail powerhouse since the 80’s. I had to ask Kent how direct mail has changed over the past ten years, and he said that “he’s seeing constant, steady production, really not much has changed in that regard”. After talking with him further, and seeing some of his work, it’s not surprising why he’s had such great success. Kent’s a very creative thinker and can leverage his experience to produce great results with any direct mail campaign.

In the past, I had overlooked the power of geographic and demographic targeting with my mailings. When you implement appended data such as geo and demographic data, you can produce the same volume of responders without all the waste in mailing those who aren’t likely to respond anyway. I’ve put together an awesome proposal for a large group, which will leverage real-time delivery using variable data mailers as an upsell for a lead partner. In addition, I’m also looking for new ways to leverage this channel further within the financial, insurance and consumer product verticals.

One of my favorite Direct Mail stories involves American Express. Yes, I’m a card holder, I have two; blue and gold. I’ve actually signed up with both cards through their direct mail offers, so I guess you could say that I’m one of their DM success stories. However, the success stops there. Amex: When are they going to flippin’ figure out that I have both of those cards? Note to American Express: Please cross-check your database when mailing me offers to sign up for the two cards I ALREADY CARRY. It’s a huge waste of your money! Instead, you could be offering me other products and services. I think everyone out there can relate to that story, it seems to be fairly common. It’s so important to know your customer and ensure you’re sending them the appropriate offers. It would be hard for me to believe that Amex doesn’t have my products flagged in their marketing database. It can get very annoying, especially for consumers more observant than the average bear, like myself 🙂

Please share any experiences you’ve had in the past few years with Direct Mail campaigns, or other effective ways you’ve used this channel to generate new leads and convert prospects…

Carson Poppenger
After building a process to contact, qualify, and convert legacy data into new sales opportunities, Carson Poppenger co-founded Squeeze ( to help other businesses accelerate sales, grow revenue, and increase profitability. He currently serves as president of the company and lives in Utah with his wife and three children.


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