Is Direct Marketing Obsolete?

dead treePlenty of commentators and social media boosters seem to think direct mail is dead. “It’s dead tree marketing”; it’s kaput. But not everyone is convinced; even in the online world.

The proof? I got a mailing the other day offering me $50 worth of free AdWords (and waiving the $5 activation fee). Who sent it?

My web host (Hostgator) and Google. Think about that. Two companies whose revenue is strictly online. They didn’t send an email, they didn’t “tweet”, they put a self-mailer piece of dead tree paper in the mail.

Dell got a lot of attention recently when they announced they’d made $2,000,000 using Twitter. It’s true, they did. But what strategy did they use? They tweeted special deals, which were redeemable on their site with coupon codes (one of the oldest direct marketing techniques in the book).

It’s not the new technology, or the latest bright shiny toys that make your campaign successful. The technology is just a tool. What makes it work is just old-fashioned direct marketing: target the right people, talk to them the right way, make an appealing offer.

Photo: Alex Goody