A more personal look at direct mail that goes beyond the numbers…
By Chris B., Minuteman Press International
For all of the statistics that speak to the strength of direct mail marketing – such as producing a response rate that out-performs all digital marketing channels by 600% (source: 2015 DMA Response Rate Report) – what gets lost in the numbers is the personal impact it can have.
All you have to do is ask yourself this question: When was the last time direct mail worked on me? What will happen next is a thought, followed by the memory of an experience you had. Dig even deeper and you might even recall when you received that extra piece of motivation in the mail, and at the very end of this excavation you might also uncover the reason why you decided to act.
Here is what I personally uncovered when I asked myself that very same question: When was the last time direct mail worked on me?
As the father of a 19-month old who has become my world (and rightfully so), having a night or weekend to myself or with the guys isn’t always the easiest thing to come by these days. In the summer, the calendar gets filled very quickly with one family event after the next, and sometimes you just can’t make plans. As for those other times, well, you just need a reason to make a plan.
That “reason” came to me in the form of a direct mail postcard I received after coming home from work. I had just picked up my son from daycare and we were settling in for the evening. After he was taken care of, I looked through my mail and there it was, sticking out from the rest of the pack. The message read:
“Chris, Join us for Sun BBQ Fest 2016! Saturday-Sunday, June 11-12, 2016 – Free Admission with this card plus $10 in food tickets.”
The postcard was from Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT, which is about 2.5 hours away. The rest of the card also included other details about the event – featured food vendors, special presentations, live music, etc. – and after taking the time to read through the details, I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to have that one-night getaway I was looking for.
Actually, I take that back. I wasn’t looking for a one-night getaway at all, but once I received this piece of direct mail that caught my eye and captured 5 minutes of my attention, I then decided to act. I called up a couple of my friends to see if they would be interested, checked with my wife to make sure she didn’t have any conflicting plans, and everything just fell into place.
As a result of a piece of direct mail that must have cost them under 1 dollar total to produce and send to me, I decided to go to Mohegan Sun for BBQ Fest and brought two of my friends along for the ride. It was win-win situation, as they saw profits in generating business from three new festival-goers, and we were able to kick back and have a fun time.
Why email would not have worked…
If I received this same exact offer from Mohegan Sun via email, I guarantee you that I would have dismissed it and deleted it without even reading it. I like to have a clean Inbox and whenever I receive a promotional email I tend to delete it unless it’s something I am really looking for. In this case, I wasn’t really looking for an overnight trip of any kind, so it would have went straight to my trash.
However, because I did receive this offer via direct mail, and because I it was right in front of me without any other distractions, on June 11, 2016, I found myself at Mohegan Sun BBQ Fest. The food samples were incredible, the music was great, and we had such a positive experience that we have already made preliminary plans to come back next year, parental responsibilities notwithstanding.
Cross media marketing creates engagement
The other aspect of this whole experience that really hit home for me is how I found myself engaged with BBQ Fest online. I was encouraged to visit their website in that first mailing, and before I reserved my spot that’s exactly what I did. What was originally 5 minutes of reading a direct mail postcard turned into at least 20 minutes on their website, checking out events from previous years and previewing this year’s festivities.
As someone who has researched the effectiveness of direct mail and knows the statistics from a professional point of view, I felt like it was important to share this story from the perspective of a consumer who was directly affected by it. I couldn’t have asked for a better night away, and it was nice to have that time to catch up with friends I don’t get to see as often anymore.
Direct mail is certainly about making connections, and in this instance, it also helped me recharge, refresh, and reconnect.
For that, I am thankful.
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