When the economy was booming, everyone was willing to spend money on advertising to stay ahead of the competition. But when the economy began to slow, the most common cuts were in the marketing and advertising budgets. Do the decision-makers now understand the impact of the marketing efforts on the bottom line? Maybe some don’t! Whose responsibility is it to educate them? While these are valid questions, the real question that should be addressed is: Where has most of the business in the past three years come from?
As a rule of thumb, the majority of sales can be attributed to marketing efforts. So why would a company cut back on the one thing that has made them money in the past? With less marketing, the competition can start gaining more traction, and potential customers will be lost to those who have been pounding the advertising channels during slow months. Direct marketing is one of those “need to have” portions of a marketing budget. Unlike other forms of advertising, such as radio, TV or online marketing, a direct mail campaign can focus on targeted data lists that are narrowed down to your optimum client.
Mass mailing isn’t the key to a successful direct mail campaign—targeted campaigns are. Why spend money marketing to every homeowner, when you could be marketing to the exact borrower who needs your services? Most direct marketing companies will have you believe that, in order to get the results you want, you should send bundles of mass mailings until you get the response rate you are looking for. They want you to think that the more mail you send out, the better response you will get. While this has some truth to it, keep in mind that it is also important to target the market that needs your services and then mail to that targeted demographic.
The success of a mailing is directly correlated to the quality of the data list being used—quality is more important than quantity. Let’s say you need a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) borrower who has a 620-plus FICO and no delinquencies on their loan. Some vendors will sell you a list that they say meets your target criteria, when in reality, you are getting a list of college students located in Boston. Counting on your data provider to ensure your list is going to qualified candidates is as important as mailing your piece. When selecting a company to handle your direct marketing campaign, it is important to find one that has a proven track record in your industry with references to back it up.
Having a successful direct mail campaign is as simple as following a few guidelines:
►Find a reputable vendor that has the experience, capabilities and insight to handle all aspects of your campaign in-house (data lists, advertising design, printing, mailing and postage).
►Create a data list with criteria for your target market. Your advertising firm should have the experience to help you select the best possible criteria for your target.
►Allow your direct mail provider to guide you to the best type of mail piece for your target market. Ask to see other successfully proven mail pieces.
Why settle for less when you’re choosing a company to market your business. Don’t send a message in a bottle—send your message using a proven technique that gets results.
Justin Restaino is vice president of Titan List & Mailing Services Inc. He has been with Titan List & Mailing for more than 12 years, specializing in targeted data and direct mail campaigns primarily for the mortgage industry. He may be reached by phone at (800) 544-8060 or e-mail [email protected]