Marketing in all its forms is a science that requires a bit of artistry to make ideally effective. You have to start with all the data points, the techniques, and best practices, and then apply your own specific experience and knowledge of your local market in order to get the best results. Anyone who relies totally on their ‘gut’ when setting up direct mail marketing campaigns will experience patchy success at best – but so will anyone relying robotically on statistics and formulas.
Part of that deeper understanding when it comes to direct mail marketing lists is not just where and how to acquire your mailing lists, but how to use them. The most popular conception of direct mail is a flood of mailing to every single person living in a certain area – known as a saturated mailing campaign – but you also have the option of sending your mailing to specific households – known as a targeted campaign. It all sounds very much like an invasion plan – which it is, in a sense – but the first and most important decision you have to make about your direct mail efforts is whether you’re going to carpet-bomb town with your materials, or be more selective.
The Saturation Campaign
The Saturation Campaign usually involves more mailing materials, because you’re going to send one to everyone in a local area. But saturation campaigns tend to actually be cheaper, because your mailing costs get the bulk discount because you’re not asking postal workers to make any special efforts.
Choosing the ‘carpet bomb’ approach is good for your business if
- You’re new in town and want everyone to become aware of your business
- Your service or product is general and should appeal to just about everyone (e.g., roof repairs or a new gym)
- You have stiff competition that already has a high recognisability factor in the market.
The Targeted Campaign
Choosing a more surgical and precise approach to the direct mail campaign requires not just a different budget and mailing list, because you’re choosing who to mail your pieces to instead of just spreading them far and wide, it also requires a different approach to the design and execution of your materials:
- Targeted campaigns are specifically aimed at people with specific attributes, whether it’s a certain neighbourhood, an income level, previously expressed interest in products and services, or demographic data points. The design of the materials needs to be crafted to appeal to their specific wants and needs and sensibility.
- Quality needs to be higher as well, because part of the impact of a targeted campaign is the sense the recipient gets that they have been specifically chosen.
- While targeted campaigns tend to work with smaller lists, the costs tend to be higher both due to the increased design work and the increased quality issue.
How you choose to get your marketing message out to your market is just as important as the message itself.