I’m sure you’ve had this experience, as well. It’s 9 o’clock in the morning on a Tuesday when I discover that there’s an item on Amazon that I simply must have…today. I place my order. That afternoon, I have it in hand. Brought right to my door… I didn’t even need to walk to my mailbox (which I don’t usually mind, since it’s one of the few forms of exercise I have time for these days!?) in order to get it.
Which makes for a good segue. Speaking of mailboxes, why is it that Amazon can deliver a package the same day and it takes the US Postal Service up to eight weeks to take an envelope from Baton Rouge to Atlanta? This is not hyperbole. Just a week or so ago, I received several letters, all from within a couple hundred miles of me, that had been mailed in the last two weeks of April.
According to a recent Fortune.com article: “Current standards call for delivering First Class mail in one to three days. Under revised standards, delivery time would stretch to as much as five days, according to the Postal Service plan. It also said it would “align hours of operation” at low-traffic post offices. Under the plan, the Postal Service would add a day or more to its standards for First Class mail delivery, increase rates, and reduce post office hours to ward off as much as $160 billion in deficits over the next decade.” There’s no doubt that the Postal Service is struggling to deal with sagging letter volume and dropping revenue. But wouldn’t fewer letters mean faster delivery? I guess not, and it sounds like for now anyway, we should not look forward to any improvements in delivery times.
I bring this up because I continue to see companies -- many of them financial institutions -- that are still using direct mail to get their marketing messages out there. I may not know if DeJoy’s plan can save the postal service, but I do know this: The key to marketing effectively is “the five rights”: get the right message to the right person at the right time in the right place in the right way. That’s a lot of “rights,” I know, but in order to be effective, this is what it takes. In today’s economy, with supply chains and scarcity of materials slowing the production of all sorts of products, does it make a lot of sense to market those products with direct mail? Recently I received a mailer that got me interested in the product; that’s the good news. The bad news? When I went to purchase it, it was already out of stock and backordered for an indefinite period of time. Why market products you can’t sell? Lately, when I get a direct mail piece from a bank that touts, say, an interest rate, I can’t help but think that that rate has gone up a quarter point while that postcard was in the mail! The upshot? Follow the five rights and make use of media that can offer you the speed and efficiency that effective messaging requires: email campaigns and social media, for instance. If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about digital marketing, social in particular, we’re here to help. Another potential benefit of not using the mail? Say you’re still printing and mailing statements to customers. You may want to encourage them to go paperless; one, because their statement is weeks old by the time they get it and two, you can save a lot of money by going paperless.
Believe me, I love getting letters in the mail. Who doesn’t? As an ad guy, I have always loved direct mail. It can be a powerful marketing communication tool and I think, should always be part of your marketing mix. However, I would steer clear in the short term. Unless you can get that Christmas Club promotion postcard in the mail next week.
What do you think? As always, I welcome your thoughts!
About Bank Marketing Center
Here at BankMarketingCenter.com, our goal is to help you with that vital, relevant, and compelling communication that will help you build trust, relationships, and with them, your brand. All while saving you time and money.
To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to in-branch brochures and signage – visit bankmarketingcenter.com. Or you can contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.