Advertisers have always had to cut through the clutter to succeed. But with growing email volumes, PPC, mobile marketing, and now social media, getting attention in the morass has never been more challenging.
Direct mail thrives in this environment because it has less competition, enjoys unprecedented targeting capabilities, and enjoys greater prestige due to its perceived higher cost of entry than many digital opportunities. (See Print Media Centr's 8 Reasons Mail Succeeds in a Digital Age for expansion on this subject)
It only seems logical to think that there must be a limit to the new social media outlets and consumers' ability to participate in the social media discourse with unlimited growth. Could facebook be feeling the first twinges of this contraction? The answer is that there is a limit.
For the direct marketing practitioner, it's always been about relevance, selling with benefit oriented content, credibility building, brand reinforcement and ROI. The Internet presents the direct marketer's dream of expanding CRM, building loyalty and selling to one prospect or customer one at a time by leveraging their likes and dislikes. But these contact points as a whole must deliver short and long term profits for both the advertiser and the provider.
In a recent email, Ken Cole, a search consultant, coach and publisher in the direct marketing space says this about social media and other fast growth digital strategies.
Bottom line: Use your social media strategies as one more tool in your kit, but not at the expense of abandoning a useful mailing strategy. Cheaper and faster doesn't necessarily mean more effective.
This comment does not mean that either Ken Or I see direct mail as a solo channel. On the contrary, direct mail works best as a mix in any multichannel campaign. Always find a way to tie in Internet support (or other traditional media such as radio and DRTV) to a landing page with the ability to respond online and by inbound phone.
In fact, social media should be coordinated and staged with any paid advertising. All channels work together to engage prospects and custmers as well as to enhance the brand.
Have you, dear reader, seen advertising programs and channel selection take on the flavor of a popularity contest as opposed to an iterative process that "tests into" successful advertising programs?