NOT THAT LONG AGO…
… I was selling everything online. In fact, I’ve sold online for nearly two decades and still do.
In the ancient times, before goto became overture my business was buying and managing PPC spends for managed hosting. When AdWords began to dominate we sold everything from beauty and dating to financial services.
Our tools became more and more sophisticated. Targeting improved and efficiency went through the roof. We knew we could spend X and would make X+y%. And if y% was too far from baseline, we knew we were doing something wrong.
BUT EVERYONE ELSE KNEW THAT TOO..
.. and considerable budgets were being ploughed into the online space. I learned from someone on a particular supermarket’s PPC team that they had only one directive: if a single click went to a site that wasn’t theirs, that was failure. Every little helped.
Interruption marketing gave way to permission marketing after Seth released his thoughts on the same to the world. Then the two merged into one, social media came out of nowhere and boom! We were all targeting the tiniest sectors with marketing so specific it almost didn’t need to be permission based. It was marketing that could only be for me, I didn’t care if I hadn’t granted open access to my mindshare. It was a perfect marketing world.
Over the last few years, ROI has crept up. What was once a $3/click niche has become $30/click. As remarketing ads follow us everywhere online our brains trained themselves to ignore even the most persistent banners and you-might-like emails. Google itself stepped in and added the Promotions tab for all the better-than-spam-but-we’ll-still-put-this-over-here-out-the-way mail. Enterprising hardware manufacturers have built plug and play devices that sit on the network level to block ads for the whole household.
Don’t tweet me wrong – online is still kicking strong and remains a/the primary front on which to battle, but I’m interested in the physicality, tangibility and permanence of DM for B2B marketing. Before we had goto.com, that’s all we had – and it in spite of its own overcrowding at the time, it worked.
DIRECT MAIL RIDES AGAIN
DM’s renaissance for me when I couldn’t get close to a decent CPA on InMail for my niche (new startups). The cost per InMail was roughly the same as sending print; but an InMail would be summarily ignored, while print might just sit on someone’s desk – after all, it has little competition in the physical inbox.
And so I decided to Buy a list (loads of places would sell me that). Print some stuff, post it. How hard could it be?
Turned out – very hard. Direct Mail, even with the advances of digital, was still set up for the occasional sender or the super-mass-sender. Huge lists, manual processing, with a big push out to loosely targeted recipients in a scattergun approach.
I wanted to run DM like I’d run online campaigns. I just wanted my stuff to appear in people’s letterboxes and on their desks in physical form at specific times in their business lifecycle. I wanted to say precisely which businesses I was mailing to in an area. If my campaign needed florists to get a picture of flowerpots and accountants to get a picture of a taxman, I didn’t want to think about it – it should just happen.. just like it does with any modern online advertising platform.
ENTER THE MAILING CO.
In a few short months with the help of some fantastic advisers, suppliers, partners and most importantly – customers – we’ve gone from strength to strength in this whole new category.
Ping me on LinkedIn if you’d like to know more about what we’re doing here. Love to talk 🙂
While I’m here, a note on spam.
Spam killed email. We should learn from those lessons and not let spam kill direct mail too.
Every time I get unaddressed door drop mail through the letterbox, it pains me. Not so much the local gutter cleaning guy trying to drum up a sale or two – we all gotta live.
I’m talking about the big brand super cheap leaflet drops that come from national pizza chains for 2 for 1 with 2L of coke, the pieces selling me something to do with windows, the charity envelopes with sad pictures.
These all tell me that you don’t care about me as a consumer. Your campaign isn’t smart, it’s just a huge scattergun running on the numbers.
Those campaigns work, don’t get me wrong. The marketers behind them are savvy and know their dashboards inside out. But so do the spammers sending out 20 million emails – it creates little value for the world other than the sender. The companies that send that mail have clever tech where you literally draw a circle on a map, upload a picture, choose how many doors you want to hit and press GO. That’s it. Beautiful geographic targeting, but not much finesse – your neighbour with 3 kids gets the same as you with none in spite of your wildly different purchasing behaviours.
At The Mailing Co we get that there’s a fine line to walk here – our clients send a lot of mail into the market. That’s why we created the systems that allow hyper-targeted direct mail automation.
Previously, most direct mail prospecting happened inside of the AdMail format – that means you have to send 4K minimum pieces of advertising mail into the market in exchange for a big discount. Most marketers would take the hit on accuracy in exchange for the savings on postage – after all, if you can send 4k for the price of 2k, who knows, you might pick up a few extra bits of business.
We think that’s wrong.
If your market is just one or two startups per month, you should have the tools to run automated, personalised and timely direct mail to just them – not them + 3998 other companies who might look like them through squinted eyes.