Postage costs still make direct mail a very expensive marketing tactic. Let’s look at elements that are now different for mail strategies in these unexpected times.
1) Supply Chain Realities
The supply chain of the past may or may not be realistic, or even present. Those who have built overseas resources over the years have benefited immensely over time in reducing costs. Unfortunately, the complications involved with overseas sourcing just got a lot more complicated. The long lead times for sourcing are most likely still very long, and that in-and-of itself remains a challenge. Unfortunately, there is a total lack of global standards or strategies for returning to whatever “normal” turns out to be. Every country and culture is making decisions on their own and in their own best interests. The new risk for the supply chain is that things are more likely to change between when orders are place and delivered more than in the past.
2) Targeting is Much More Important
The moving target of Covid-19 times that affects the supply chain also makes a huge difference for marketing strategies. Segmentation tactics relative to targeting for all mailing lists is ripe with opportunities. International markets and each state within the US all have their own consumer behavior elements. Some are locked down and others are open for business. The good news is that we already have the tools to micro-segment our mailing lists. The key is to make sure we are using all the resources available to consider where wallets are open and what merchandise is being purchased at any point in time. Spectrum Data has a particularly excellent tool chest for any merge purge processes.
3) Increased Risk of Losing Best Customers
Perhaps the biggest risk to any direct mailer presently is losing best customers to the competition. The two things to make sure you are have in place are 1) visibility of what the competition is doing in real-time and 2) a healthy balance between the CFO focusing on the expense side of the P & L report and the “real” costs of cutting marketing expenses causes losing customers to the competition. The business that are open and busy are purchasing similar to the past. If your brand is not there for them, they will quickly find another source. Direct Mail offers an excellent return on investment for those customers that are active.