Do people still use direct marketing?

//Do people still use direct marketing?

They do, when they are building loyalty for a brand

Can’t be sure if you have watched Birla Sun Life’s direct marketing (DM) campaign ‘The Last Telegram’ so here’s a YouTube Link.

Conceptualised by DDB Mudra Max, on July 14, 2013, the last day of the Indian telegram service, a team of 15 people from the agency sat at the Telegram Office in Mumbai from 9 am to 10.30 pm and diligently wrote out individual telegrams to high net worth individuals (HNIs), who had in the past, evinced interest in Birla Sun Life Retirement Plans.

In those 12 hours, around 5,000 telegrams were dispatched, including the last to Ajay Kakar, Chief Marketing Officer (Financial Services) Aditya Birla Group and all 5000 prospects felt very elated at being made a part of history in this gracious manner.

The day marked the end of a golden era (163 years) for the Indian Telegram Service. The message that went to the 5000 individuals read: “The Telegram retires today, with no plans for its future. Do you have a plan for your future? – Retirement Solutions from Birla Sun Life Insurance.”

The idea was out-of-the-box. It went viral on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. Jewellery brand Orra’s creative agency, Cornerstone Digital had the same idea, but in keeping with their brand attributes, the message on the last telegram was more nostalgic. It read, “Telegrams are soon to be part of a bygone era. But thankfully some things go on forever. Orra pure brilliance is impossible to hide!’

Again, the copy is not earth-shattering, but the idea is.

Recently, Bolt Insurance in the US, did a survey of the popularity of DM marketing and discovered that despite the rising popularity of email, DM marketing still makes business sense for a small-scale business and is forecasted to rise by a slow and steady pace of 3.6% in 2014.

The survey discovered that despite the tightening of privacy norms and the bad name earned through mass distribution of poorly-targeted print mailers, DM still engages six in 10 customers. In fact, in comparison to emails, direct mail has 30 times more chance of receiving a response from a customer.

There are certain categories of services, such as health, financial services, insurance, food and personal care, where the DM route is more effective than others, but only if you as a marketer have done some prior thinking. For starters, planning and defining the objectives of a DM campaign are very important for its successful run.

Next, identify your targets as closely as possible. Since it’s an expensive medium (compared to email), your database must be accurate, so there is no spillage. In the ‘Last Telegram’ campaign, Birla Sun Life wanted to sell a ‘Retirement Plan,’ so they zeroed in on HNIs who had evinced interest in their product sometime in the past but not closed a sale. These customers are fence-sitters, who can easily be converted through a cleverly-crafted DM campaign that pulls at their heart-strings, or makes them feel important, as the Last Telegram campaign did.

If you don’t have data in-house, source it from a trusted, third-party list broking house that is well-known for dealing in up-to-date databases of every kind.

While it is difficult to calculate the exact return on investment (ROI) from any marketing initiative, typically, the ROI (Total revenue / Total spend) from a DM campaign are substantially lower than from an email campaign, only because the spends are higher.

But Revenue is just one measure of success. The second is Response. According to the Direct Marketing Association’s 2012 Response Rate Report, telemarketing and direct mail surpasses digital channels in generating the highest conversion – almost a 30-fold difference! We suggest you use this calculator to measure the response to your campaign.

Used in tandem with email, the gains could be much bigger:

Grand Total Count Responce Rate Average Order Value Dollars Per Name Mailed % Sales in store Sales Online
Direct Mail & Email 35,000 25% $71.71 %17.67 79% 21%
Direct Mail only 35,000 24% $68.62 $16.39 83% 17%
Email only 35,000 23% $67.82 $15.71 79% 21%


So if you are really looking at building a bigger brand recall for your company and expand your loyal customer base, DM makes more sense than just an email campaign.

(From MLI, Social Marketing Division. As an integral part of our broader services, we provide clients with complete data management solutions including: Data Cleaning, Mailing Campaign Management, De-duplication and In house Database Management)

About MLI

MLI is the leading Direct Marketing company in India, offering integrated multichannel marketing strategies in the B2B and B2C space. The company provides access to all types of mailing lists in India and the rest of the world direct mailing lists, telemarketing lists and email marketing lists and support services for cross-channel marketing.

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