Come out Swinging
A statistic popped out of the Internet the other day (statistics have a way of doing that on the Internet) that showed that direct mail and direct marketing spending by advertisers was up almost 5% in 2011. Up? Wait a second, I thought direct mail went the way of the dinosaurs and all the money was placed on social media. If that’s true, how could spending be UP in this plugged in world?
It looks like the fight is on! It’s direct marketing versus social media! Bang, zoom, Pow! But before we actually come to blows, let’s check some facts about both approaches.
Here’s what’s great about social media: it’s pretty cheap. You get to have a one-to-one contact with your customers and potential customers. Go ahead, talk to them! So, what’s the downside? If you’re not too careful, you run the risk of alienating your customers. It’s also high maintenance, requiring constant massaging and work. If you don’t, you’ll be sitting there watching a one-hit wonder fizzle out. And everything you’ve worked so hard to build up will be gone.
And what about direct marketing? Well, the rumors of its demise are greatly exaggerated. Yes it’s been around a while, but guess what – it’s still working, building customer loyalty and making money. It’s extremely measurable – you can test and measure just about everything with direct marketing.
The downside? Time. Forget about instant results. You have to plan out your campaign before you implement it. You have to allow time to measure a return on your investment. Finally, it’s going to cost you more. If you’re a start-up, the upfront costs can really hit you hard.
But rather than battling it out – don’t come out swinging! What if you put the two together, working synergistically to build your brand and sell your products?
It can work! Use direct marketing to invite customers to join your network, and then use social media to thank them for coming to visit. Or vice-versa: use social media to tell your customers and/or prospective customers when you’ll be sending something important to them via direct marketing. And when it comes to customer service, well, you’ll have an unbeatable combo working for you.
Most marketing directors think that pulling a 3% response rate on a direct marketing campaign is awesome. But hey, that also means you failed to get 97% of your audience to respond. Ouch! Start telling your brand story and your unique selling propositions via social media BEFORE the direct marketing campaign is launched and watch those numbers really soar!