Direct Marketing in a Social Media World

Mon, 10/24/2011

As long as you’re providing value first, I think that DM can be a great benefit to social media. In fact, I think social media makes direct marketing even more successful and might in fact save you time. Hear me out. In a recent article on Marketers will spend $163 billion on direct marketing in 2011, a 5.6% increase compared with last year, according to a report released by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) on Oct. 2. The report found that direct marketing accounts for 52.1% of total U.S. ad spending. However, digital advertising remains to have a steady incline, mobile being the highest of interest, it will reach 21% of the marketing budget according to the DMA. The DMA also projected that direct marketing ROI will reach $12.03 of sales per dollar of expenditures in 2011.

Now, while I know some believe that direct marketing (or strictly direct mail for that matter) has its own place completely separate from social media and the two should never hang out together, I still find there to be an argument here. Building off of all the usual suspects: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you might find that direct mail can live not only in a social media world, but actually through it and alongside it.

Using Facebook for more than just a news feed status on your coffee break or gushing over your nieces pictures that were just posted you could find that it might be a resource. Facebook could actually help you gain a perspective from your audience for market research using a polling app. I know this seems a bit strange but, Facebook polling app lets you test messages with your audience. For example, if you wanted to test an A/B messaging for a mailing piece you were going to drop in November you could check to see which one resonates better with your audience, what the click-through rates are and it will save you cost for testing.

Nearly 5% of email addresses go bad every year. That said, when you are using a list that was generated from even the last 6 months there’s a chance that even 2.5-5% of them aren’t of any use. Now granted that may still seem like a small number and you’d rather just not bother with it, but what if there was an easy fix? Say, LinkedIn. Most users update their LinkedIn accounts in conjunction of a title or company change (assuming their account is tied to the work email). That being said, it is an easy back check for you to look at these users if you are ever in doubt of their email changing or being updated. It will save you from the stack of DM bouncing back and it might even connect you to others as you back check.

Twitter has become one of my favorite tools in the social media crusade. While some don’t really see the point in it still, talk to me and I will tell you at least five good points I see in Twitter, I guarantee it. I can also tell you how great Twitter is for direct mail. You can run searches for articles on current news and blogs being posted regarding print and DM in real time. Twitter allows for you to directly connect with people who are actually passionate about print. People are out there, talking, well tweeting in fact, on what they are doing as a company to better their print business. Finally, and quite possibly the obviously point, you can get instant feedback. Facebook is good tool for this as well, but I find that the instant you post on Twitter using a hash tag you will be able to stream who else is tweeting and get a response. It’s astounding to me. Imagine you knowing little to nothing about a client you are about to work with, or you have never made a certain type of printing piece your client is asking for. I can almost guarantee you’ll find information in a blog or a twitter search.

So there you have it, direct marketing owns the majority of the total U.S. ad spending and is on an uphill climb. Direct mail can exist in a tech savy social media world. Know that the market is ever changing and it’s good to leverage and change with it. Nobody ever said we can’t all get along, right?


Erica Beindorff

Direct Connect Group


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