Creative & Copywriting: Using Creative to Power the 1-2 Punch of Mail and Web
The most substantial fallout from postage increases, higher costs for paper and printing, and a weakened economy is the reduced use of mail in cross-channel marketing campaigns.
It seems like an obvious move … until you look closely.
Some cross-channel retailers who haven't been able to dissect their housefiles into different segments of responders have suffered to the point that they've thrown out the baby with the bathwater. They've completely eliminated mail from their mixes and rely on e-mail alone to make most of their contacts.
The cost of printing and postage has also discouraged pure-play retailers, who prior to this might have tried the powerful one-two punch of mail and Web.
With mail continuing to provide the best return on investment of any prospecting medium, and with the power it can have on a housefile, it's a shame to abandon it completely. Even if you can't afford to put a bigger piece (i.e., a catalog) in the mail, there are affordable alternative mailers that can work well if used as part of an integrated marketing strategy.
While this column isn't about segmenting your customer list to determine who to send catalogs to, it does examine what to do in lieu of sending catalog or direct-mail packages to customers. Appropriate copy and design are essential to that strategy.
You may have noticed some pretty big changes in your mailbox this year. Mine, which used to be loaded with catalogs, pales in comparison to the old days. This isn't a bad situation, however, if you're using mail as part of your marketing mix. A thinned-out mailbox means there's more attention for your piece of mail.
Some years ago, I had the pleasure of working with a travel group called The Wayfarers. It had a sumptuous, perfect-bound catalog that cost a few dollars per book to produce. The group was using its catalog as a prospecting tool and losing its shirt — getting a 1 percent response to cold lists made it prohibitive to send even though its typical tours cost thousands of dollars.