By Deborah Wroe
Who saw Panorama last night (Monday 4 July) called ‘Why Hate Junk Mail’ ?
I did, and if I was a consumer with no knowledge of direct marketing I would be mighty confused by now, and I would be assuming that all mail is junk and that a high proportion of that junk is a scam with the company behind it trying to rip me off. If I was a business thinking I might dip my toe in direct marketing and ‘send my customers or prospects a letter’, I would be thinking twice about it after the BBC show. The title of the show was Why Hate Junk Mail, but a large chunk of the show was about scam mail, where fraudsters use mail to elicit money from unsuspecting consumers through false competitions for example. Scam mail is illegal while targeted direct mail (DM) is NOT junk mail. The programme, for me, was a bit sensationalist and only served to confuse the consumer and deliver a cheap shot at an easy ‘target’.
The DMA has produced a fact sheet on advertising mail and the Royal Mail has provided a statement in response to the programme. Neither of these though, address businesses who may have been put off using DM by the programme. If it’s a good fit for your business, do it, and do it right. We talked before about buying a list and about glossy leaflets. DM is a crucial part of the marketing mix, but if its not targeted, let’s face it you are not going to get the results, just like a poorly designed website, an annoying advert or unsociable use of social media. It is not about a scatter gun approach, but about your strategy and finding the right channel for your business. Consumers do respond to DM, but poorly targeted and irrelevant DM may well go straight into the recycling bin. As with all marketing, know your customer and shoot to score.