Seeding thoughts for a good DM harvest

Cometh the Spring, cometh a fresh crop of plant catalogues through your letterbox. And, in truth, I fall for it every year, bewitched by the promise of a glorious riot of floral blooms and trug full of ripe, tasty vegetables.

And this year is no exception as I’ve already placed my order for seeds, potting compost and bulbs and taken full advantage of the vouchers my local garden centre targeted me with last week.

Now, I’m no Monty Don, indeed my horticultural methods are based on sowing far more than I need as I subscribe to the old saying:

‘Four seeds in a row, one for the rook, one for the crow, one to die, and one to grow.’

And that philosophy got me thinking about what sort of hit rate my local garden centre’s direct mail (DM) piece generated. I questioned why it worked for me and decided that having vouchers in my hand was preferable to printing them off as I would have done had it been an e-shot.

There’s no doubt companies are forgoing DM in favour of digital campaigns, in spite of the DMA saying DM is still the most effective means of direct marketing (see later). So, I thought I’d attempt some myth busting and stop DM getting such an undeserved bad rap.

  1. Nobody looks at direct mail

Untrue. People are getting sick of being bombarded by e-shots, so receiving something through the post is almost a novelty and welcome break from a digital approach.

  1. Direct mail is outdated and impersonal

Not when done correctly. Approaching customers by post is something many companies ignore, but an effective DM campaign could just convince a few of your competitor’s customers to try you instead. As for this marketing method being impersonal, nothing is further from the truth. When structured and managed carefully, DM can really bear fruit and build stronger, more sustainable relationships with consumers, from first purchases to repeat orders (remember my gardening optimism!).

  1. It’s too expensive! 

Email campaigns are undoubtedly cheaper but DM actually puts your communication in your target’s hands. They decide if to bin it whereas with e-shots, that decision is often removed when messages are lost to junk mail or overlooked before being opened. If your target never receives the message, it is time and effort wasted.

  1. It isn’t targeted

Quite the opposite! Data matching can pair house lists with prospect ones to give you a rich understanding of your database. This will enable you to better profile your customer and communicate with them in the most targeted, effective way.

  1. Databases are inaccurate

Not if you look after them. Read our blog on how to clean up your data to get it working at its best.

  1. It’s junk mail

DM differs to junk mail. Because it is addressed to the recipient, DM carries more authority. It piques the curiosity of the reader, inviting them to open and read it in preference to the takeaway menus or supermarket catalogues that drop on the mat with the post.

  1. DM has a low response rate

Wrong again. The DMA claims DM is still the most effective means of direct marketing, giving a 4.4% response rate compared to email at 0.12%.

While we’re not advocating an either/or approach when it comes to choosing between DM and digital channels, I think it’s better to adopt another of my gardening tactics. Sow a tried and trusted variety of seed alongside a new hybrid and that way you’ll be assured of a good harvest. You can’t beat an old King Edward for taste. 😉