What Are The Keys To Direct Mail Success?

Written By Joel Basa
eMarketing Manager
Xerox Corporation
Direct Mail. I’ve heard many say it’s not going away anytime soon and my stack of mail from yesterday is enough evidence for me to think that statement is correct. I have the privilege to work on some direct mail campaigns for Xerox and I’ve learned campaign development is fun but challenging work. What do you think is the most critical piece for direct mail success? Let me list and define a few factors that weigh on success(in my opinion) and I hope you’ll vote on what you think is the most critical.
Loosely defined as who and where you send to or who is your target audience. This could potentially be the most critical aspect.
The actual physical design of the direct mail. Things like, color, dimensional etc.
Is this combined with other sales initiatives or programs? Is combining with other media such as e-mail and web important?
Product/Service Being Marketed
How appealing the actual service or product is affects success. A direct mail campaign on twist ties may not be appealing but a campaign on the latest and greatest electronic gadget might be.
What do you think? Let the debate begin. Vote below.
[poll id=”6″]

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  1. Lois Ritarossi July 27, 2012 -

    Most successful DM comes from treating all elements as critical to a campaign results. You need reliable data, stand-out creative, strong execution and a desirable product for the audience to be sucessful

    • Joel Basa July 27, 2012 -

      Agree Lois, I put this question out there almost as a “trick question.” I think there is no correct answer…they are ALL so important.

  2. Tami Dobbs July 27, 2012 -

    In addition to the data, the creativity, the execution and the product I see the most successful marketers mailing often and using relevant content. Communicating often keeps the conversation going, good marketers are always talking with their customers. If we don’t talk with our customers, someone else will. Also, knowing your customer and being certain that your marketing message is relevant. I’m not interested in motorcycles, marketers know that – but they know I’ll drive an Audi anyday. Constant communication. Relevant Communication. More keys to direct mail success!

    • Joel Basa July 27, 2012 -

      Tami, relevant communications….yes so key. Personalization in my mind is great data. What do you think?

  3. Jacob Mandel August 7, 2012 -

    Good points I’ve also found personalizing the pieces and or using it as a coupon or of actual value makes for great response.

    • Joel Basa August 7, 2012 -

      Thanks for sharing your feedback Jacob!

  4. Randall Swope August 10, 2012 -

    If any of the above is wrong it wont work. So given that you have good data, good creative, good execution, good product/service then the overriding factor will be “Are you in the right place at the right time with the right message to the right person and do they have a need for what you are offering and can pay for it and is it of better value than other options. I think once you get the above right it is all about LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION + FREQUENCY FREQUENCY FREQUENCY. Advertisment ? Sound Familiar? “I know I waste 50% of my Ad spending but I am not sure what 50%” (John Wanamaker)

  5. Printing Scottsdale August 21, 2012 -

    i agree that personalization is great one also. I like how you said this is a trick question, there are no right and wrong answer, but the best answer could be how some have answered this – All of them are important to a successful campaign! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Mario Lima June 24, 2013 -

    I think it’s a combination honestly.

    If it’s not visually appealing – it may not get looked at.

    If it’s not targeted towards the recipient – it may not mean much to them.

    If it’s a personalized mailing, and the personalization doesn’t match the recipient – there’s going to be trouble.

    It takes all of the of the facets you listed to make your direct mail work!

  7. Bill Michael June 24, 2013 -

    Thanks for the comment, Mario – and I think you are right – all of those aspects you mention play a critical role.

    It’s about getting the right message to the right person at the right time through the right channel. The ‘right channel’ is an added layer of complexity thanks in large part to the advances in technologies and devices.

    It’s not easy – but when done right, direct mail can be wildly effective in driving the recipient to act upon a desired behavior.

    Bill (Xerox Employee)

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