As we get older (OK, as I get older!), I notice that so many of the changes that come about in society tend to swing like the proverbial pendulum – meaning that change tends to be embraced enthusiastically in one direction for a while before ultimately settling back somewhere in the middle. You see that phenomenon played out time and again in culture, politics and business.
I remember back in the 1980’s it was commonly thought that Japan was going to surpass America in economic growth due to its superior production and management methods. Sony was in ascendance. MBAs were learning to speak Japanese in large numbers. Many books were written on the subject. Thirty years later, the United States certainly has its share of economic problems but nothing compared to Japan about which the phrase “lost decade” is used regularly.
That’s not so much a tribute to American exceptionalism as it makes the point that as the classic song lyrics go, “the fundamental things apply, as time goes by.” New theories and technologies will always be with us. Some have lasting value; many just end up making a contribution to the great blend of wisdom and practices that have brought success to people through the ages.
Yes, rainy mornings in late May tend me make wax philosophical but there is a point to these musings so please hang in there! (You don’t have much else to do today, do you?)
I recently attended a presentation at the New England Direct Marketing Association (NEDMA) annual meeting by Michael Kaplan, Group Account Director at G2 a marketing communications agency. The talk was about direct mail and how to do it better. Many specific tips were shared and it was very interesting and informative.
In the course of his talk Michael made the point over and over that direct mail works and that it tends to bring a better response than e mail marketing. Remember when everyone complained about “junk mail” - the blight of an unrelenting barrage of unwanted letters in your mailbox? I’m guessing that today you hear a lot more complaints about spam in the virtual mailbox and for good reason. Before writing this I deleted a half dozen unwanted e mail messages from my in box and unsubscribed from three of them. That’s five minutes of my life I won’t get back.
Compare this to when I received my regular mail yesterday. In addition to the things I had to open (Hello IRS!) there was an envelope and letter from a magazine to which I subscribe. I was curious and opened it and saw that they had apparently sold my name to a companion list. I wasn’t interested in the pitch so after glancing I tossed it (in the recycling bin – yes, that’s important). But the point is that the highly personalized envelope caused me to take the time to open and at least peruse the contents. There was nothing else going on, no distractions, – just me and the direct mail offer in that single unit of time.
E mail has certainly replaced regular mail in many convenient ways; bill paying comes to mind (although I still prefer to get my bills in the mail – perhaps yet another indication of the fact that I am getting older?)
But despite all the pendulum swings, regular direct mail remains the best and most effective way to sell your product or service if it’s done right. Oh, and by the way, Michael said that direct mail campaigns that include envelopes generally pull better than those that don’t. Just sayin’….