Meadow CreekNews

The Perils of Direct Mail Marketing

Filed under Marketing, Sales/Selling on August 11, 2010

Yesterday afternoon my mail was dropped off at my desk. I just got around to opening it. The first thing that fell out of the large padded envelope was a box of matches. Next a tubed Romeo Y Julieta Verona’s Court cigar. Thank you God, I’ll enjoy myself tonight. Next, I fished out a gold colored hard envelope holding an invitation printed on lexan. Wow! Someone is really trying to buy me, in style of course. There was the invitiation, I was being invited to a grand opening of (names are ommitted to protect the innocent and the guilty) accompanied by alchohol, more cigars and the chance to play with some big boy toys.
I was impressed. The envelope itself probably cost more than the printed postcard I last sent out in a direct mail campaign. The postage was well over a dollar, the cigar was $6 plus, the matches and the invitation itself most have cost a fortune. This was a great package that was sure to produce results in the hands of the right people. Sadly, I am not one of them. I was not one of them before the Great Recession. They were looking for a small number of people to RSVP as space was limited. They still had to have sent out several hundred to get the desired number of responses.

Here in Seattle, home of several of the richest people in the world, I was flattered to be invited. I will always be appreciative of anyone that sends me a cigar. But my marketing orientation got the best of me. Only this morning, I was on the phone with a lady from a call center discussing prospecting for clients. I described the clients I was looking for and she said no such list exists. She asked if I had anyone tell me that they could filter a list as I had described and offered to make calls for me. I replied yes, that a couple of people said they could do it. She very adamant in her plea for me to put my plans aside. A proper list doesn’t exist. My money would be wasted.

So as I plan to enjoy my free cigar tonight, I take this morning’s lesson to heart. Someone had spent a bundle of money to reach out to me and invite me to a party celebrating something I couldn’t possibly afford. Their list was crap. Not that I haven’t been taken by purveyors of lists before. One would think how hard can it be to come up with a list of people with a lot of money burning a hole in their pocket.

Marketing is a hunt best done with a shotgun. Putting a lot of money into your hunt and then using a rifle, rarely achieves the returns desired. Try a bunch of things and see what works. There is no silver bullet for every situation.

Richard Gabel

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