Please Don’t Shoot the Designer
“I tried direct mail once,” says the prospective client, “and it didn’t work.”
To be quite honest, this is something that we hear this from time to time, and sometimes it can be a tough mindset to overcome.
Readers directly involved in marketing will recognize that oh-so-problematic word “once” and begin formulating their counter argument that most advertising requires some repetition. Unless you’re giving away money, a single mailing piece or advertisement of any type usually does little to attract new customers. It takes time and repeated exposure for an advertising campaign to become truly effective.
Of course, it’s important to note that the quality of the piece itself plays a large role, regardless of the number of repetitions. Effectiveness can also vary depending on whether the advertisement is for an existing company introducing a new product or for a new company introducing its products or services. If brand recognition is already present through a known company, it is much easier.
So, how many times do you have to mail to be effective? Well, if you were opening a new store or office, unless your initial offer was spectacular (perhaps filled with loss leaders), I would think that you would need at least one initial mailing, combined with 1 to 2 follow-up mailings. I recall attending a seminar a few years back on newspaper advertising and they maintained that it could take 7 – 8 placements to start receiving calls. Given that the seminar was run by a local newspaper and that direct mail stands on its own (and is not buried somewhere on page 11), I honestly believe that you can get away with far fewer repetitions, as noted above.
Like the title suggests, I don’t think that you should shoot the designer or the postal service if a single mailing does not bring the results that you are looking for. However, design and creative do play a large role in the overall success. Who isn’t grabbed immediately by the Knorr Sidekicks commercial featuring sad little “Salty”, walking away from home as streams of salt tears pour out of his eyes?
Pure genius! I realize that this is a television commercial, but the image of Salty in the corner of a direct mail piece would have been very powerful as well.
So, there is no doubt that good creative is extremely important, but if you are introducing a new business venture or trying to make more people aware of an existing business, you are likely going to need a few mailings to be successful. Otherwise, you might as well keep your money in your pocket.
In closing, we would like to reiterate that you shouldn’t shoot your creative team if your direct mail doesn’t work with one drop. We can confidently say that direct mail does work, as is evidenced by the many repeat clients that we have (an interesting word, “repeat”). Lastly, we use direct mail ourselves to not only attract new business, but to showcase different types of mailers. This results a win-win situation that works well for us and our clients.
As always, if there are any questions regarding this post, please do no hesitate to give us a call!