For years I’ve had to explain to my family what I do for a living. The minute I say that I partner with nonprofits and mail to their donors or prospective donors my relatives say something along the lines of, “oh it’s YOU who sends me that junk mail!”
Excuse me, I do not send JUNK mail, I send direct mail.
What’s the difference, you ask?
Direct mail is targeted to people who may find the information in the mailing of interest. Junk mail is not targeted to its audience, and often falls on deaf ears because people have no interest in the product or service.
Take this, for example. (I intentionally cropped the top so you can’t see the logo of the company.)
This most definitely got my attention. Let me give you an idea of proportion:
This thing is huge. It was folded in half to fit into my mailbox, and even then the box couldn’t entirely shut. (The dimensions are 9.5×13 inches. I know, fellow geeks, because I measured it.)
The mailer had to pay the flat postage rate (which is more expensive than letter rate), put it on heavy card stock to make it through USPS machines and made sure the four-color glossy print did not rub off on pieces around it. In other words, this was not cheaply produced or mailed.
Only problem? We replaced every window in our house last year as a part of a major remodel. So…thank you for the information on how much I could save by replacing my windows with your product, but I don’t need your product.
They could have possibly avoided this by pulling permit information and suppressing everyone on their file who had a permit pulled within the last 24 months. Better yet, they could try to target those who had a remodel but did not have windows replaced, though I’m not sure if that level of data is available on publicly filed permits.
How about select people whose houses were built or remodeled 20 years ago, and then mail to them to consider window replacements? They would end up mailing fewer people, sure, but the people they mail would more than likely actually be interested in their product. Costs would decrease, response rate would increase, and all would be right with the world.
Unfortunately many of us are very familiar with junk mail. When’s the last time you got a piece of direct mail? I got one recently, and I’ll tell you about it soon.
2 thoughts on “Direct Mail versus Junk Mail”
Nice post! As a former direct mail rep, I appreciate you identifying the difference between highly targeted mail vs the throw a dart at the board mail that relies on luck.