Is Direct Mail Dead? 02/04/2008 "Need to Know" for Jewish non-profits
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Not yet.

That’s the short answer, but not the entire answer.

Marketing Guru and all-around innovative thinker, Seth Godin (see Seth’s Blog at ) thinks direct mail is dying.

With all due respect to Seth, I would disagree.

But direct mail is changing.

For one thing, the USPS keeps making it more expensive and direct mailers respond by mailing less. It’s a vicious cycle.

So more to the point: should you continue to send direct mail?


But you do need to think about it differently than in the past.

Some points to consider:

1) Because direct mail is more expensive than ever, you need to mail smarter and
not just mail more. Talk to a specialist in direct mail. Use better lists.
Rewrite your packages. Test, test and test again.

2) Since there are alternatives, think of direct mail as a part of your overall media mix alongwith advertising, email, blogs and websites.

3) Using email blasts in place of direct mail is not the answer. Email needs to work with your direct mail. It can’t replace it because some people (especially in the
older-than-average Jewish community) don’t or won’t use email. Many others won’t
even open an unsolicited email. Email blast response rates are

4) The Human Factor. We’re all different and one size does not fit all. Some people want to shop online. Others prefer to curl up with a catalog. Some people will read an email blast; others need a well-written letter telling a compelling story. Why ignore either group?

5) Consider this conundrum. Many people now receive a piece of direct mail, log
onto your website and donate with a credit card. Why not? It’s faster, easier
and you get credit card points. Are you counting them as direct mail donors?
Because they responded to your direct mail. Or are they just getting lost in
your system?

TV did not kill off movies but it changed the way the film industry produces movies and the way we watch movies. The internet is doing the same to the music industry.

Email and websites and blogs are not going to kill direct mail. But they are changing how our clients consume it, how we produce it and how we use it to generate sales or donations.

Are we up to the task?