Dollar for dollar, few advertising methods deliver as
effectively as direct mail. With a direct mail campaign, you enjoy
targetability, creativity and measurability--all at optimal cost.
Because direct mail uses prequalified lists, your
advertising targets only those potential customers you want to reach. In other
words, every dollar you spend goes to reach your best prospects--;not those
unlikely to be interested or with no use for your product or service.
For instance, a recent direct mail campaign developed for
CultureWorx, a suburban Chicago employee relationship software firm, sought to
inform major corporations about CultureWorx' Web-based Human Performance
Software and educate them about employee relationship management. The campaign
used prequalified lists to target 300 presidents of Fortune 500 companies. The
second mailing in the series also was sent to top executives of these firms,
spurring them to talk about the mailings among themselves before meeting with their companies' presidents to determine whether
to respond. In addition, direct mail can and should be highly creative. Whether
direct mail pieces are flat or three-dimensional ... whether they provide a
giveaway or just a message, they must be attention-getting and memorable.
"Studies have shown the advertiser has just a three-second window of
opportunity to interest the target in opening the package and reading
it," says Jana Rhodes, account executive at Hinsdale, Ill.,
advertising/PR firm, Walt Denny, Inc.
Developing a series of direct mail pieces tied together by a
common theme or concept is one way to build on the creativity. As elements of
the campaign arrive in waves over a period of days or weeks, repetition drives
the company's name to the forefront of recipients' consciousness.
The CultureWorx campaign had to cut through the clutter,
recalls Eric Webb, the company's vice-president of marketing. "We
felt we needed to stand out," he says. "Fortune 500 companies are
being hit with dozens of other companies trying to sell them something. We
needed something that really grabbed their attention, got them to remember our
name and was clear enough for them to understand who we are and what we
The solution was a series of four "dimensional"
mailings, which poked lighthearted fun at the way employees once were managed.
One boxed mailing, with a headline discussing the way employees were once kept
in line, contained a whip. Another referred to intimidation and held a scary
mask. Accompanying literature delivered the message that there's a better
way to manage employees. The dimensionality of the pieces commanded attention
from recipients, and the size and bright colors of the mailings complemented
the concept and creativity of the series.
Finally, perhaps no other advertising approach is more
measurable. Mail pieces can include postcards, coupons, toll-free numbers and
other response mechanisms that allow the sender to quickly and easily measure
the success of any campaign. And they can be followed by sales calls that
capitalize on the interest generated by the direct mail and monitor its
The CultureWorx campaign, for instance, included response
cards with the first of the four dimensional mailings. Follow-up calls from the
sales force proved of additional assistance in determining that the
campaign's response rate was an impressive 7.5 percent, a rate dwarfing
the one percent average response rate of typical direct mail campaigns.
"I think the direct mail program did its job,"
Webb concludes. "It has generated awareness of us as a company, and it
has opened doors."