That quote is from Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain. Direct Mail Marketing managers might understand how he felt.

A lot of people have been writing the obituary of Direct Mail for a while now. They say email is going to take its place. While email has many useful features, and is quite handy for some purposes, Direct Mail is much more effective in the way it works, and in the impression it creates.

I don’t know about you, but electronic mail marketing messages have to cross a lot of hurdles to reach me. Our email server has a spam filter that rejects messages based on the address and other criteria. After that, my mail reader program examines the content, and dumps most of the rest in a junk mail folder. Of what’s left, I just scan the subject lines, and read very little of it.

If I receive unsolicited email from a company, it’s very likely to create a negative impression, rather than a positive one. Then. there are so many software compatibility  issues that can make your creative message look like trash. You’re left with the choice of making boring, plain text messages, or taking a chance that your intended client can’t read what you’ve sent.

On top of all that are the legal issues. It hasn’t happened often, but people have been prosecuted and convicted of violating the CanSPAM act.

On the other hand, with Direct Mail Marketing, all those filters are bypassed, and I have to hold the piece in my hand, read it, and decide if I’m interested or not. If the outside of the letter, self mailer or postcard catches my attention, I’ll open it and look into it further. The copy and art on the outside of the piece can easily have just as much information and “flash” as the entire message in an email. Once I’ve opened the letter, I can have much more text and graphics to fully explain my product or service. Many people, even “computer people”, simply like having an item they can hold, examine and save.

 Mailing lists are a big advantage for direct mail as well. A physical address is much more permanent and easier to verify than an email address. Mailing lists also allow the targeting of customers by demographics, magazine subscriptions and other special interests.

 All in all, email is a good way to keep in touch with existing customers. As a way to find new customers, direct mail is hard to beat.

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