Direct Mail - Is a simple response enough?

9th October, 2008

For direct marketing campaigns to be truly successful we should always seek to learn from them. On the face of it this seems like a totally banal statement until you delve a bit deeper. Direct marketing shouldn’t be just about how many people responded or how much revenue was generated. These are certainly key factors but the learning process should go much deeper in order to get real value from your budget.

One of the fundamental principles of direct marketing is ‘testing’. Remember this! With the squeeze on marketing budgets how many people can, hand on heart, say that they run a control device against any new Agency creative?

Therefore how do you know if your new creative actually worked? You might feel that it looks much sexier and it might have generated a response, but who is to say that the previous creative wouldn’t have worked even better.

Equally if it totally bombs, how do you know if it was the creative approach that was at fault or just the timing? There are certainly cost implications with testing but it is one of the foundations that direct mail is built upon and it is the only way to ensure you are getting maximum value from your budget.

It is also worth considering whether as marketers we should just be happy with knowing that a campaign generated a good response. It might have achieved the objectives of the campaign but is there more that could have been learnt from the exercise. Apart from knowing that our offer appealed to a percentage of our audience what else have we found out? The answer is not a lot!

For those of you who like me are passionate about direct marketing here’s a radical thought. Why not follow up a percentage of the non-responders? I believe that we could actually learn far more from the people that haven’t responded to an offer than those that have. Telemarketing could be a way to do this or a personalised letter/questionnaire. Armed with this intelligence and a spot of testing thrown in, your next direct marketing campaign could start to deliver far more than just a response!

For an agency that is passionate about its direct marketing and always thinks outside the box, why not give Nexus a try.

Mike Sturt


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