DMers Urged to Keep Mailing Despite Anthrax Crisis

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Direct marketers should continue with mailings despite the anthrax scare, a direct marketing investment banker advised yesterday.


MeritDirect sponsored a conference call during which Donald R. Libey advised clients on how to get through the scare involving anthrax in the mail. In the presentation, "Anthrax and Your Mail Plans - A Libey-MeritDirect Viewpoint," he urged direct marketers to stick to their mail plans and not panic.


"The sky is not falling," said Libey, president of Libey-Concordia, Haddon Heights, NJ.


Though he acknowledged that the transmission of anthrax through the mail has had repercussions for direct marketers, he said marketers should not stop mailing.


"Above all, do not abandon mailings," he said.


Libey predicted that the fear would last only briefly and that conditions would improve once something happened to shift the focus away from the mail.


In the meantime, he said, "A lower response is better than no response."


To prevent mail from being tossed out, Libey recommended not mailing to companies with big corporate mailrooms right now.


Firms should explore e-commerce options and perhaps let consumers know when a direct mailing is on its way via e-mail, he said.


Libey also stressed that a company's brand is its biggest asset and that consumers would open mail bearing recognizable logos.


"I'm beginning to realize just how powerful our individual brands can be," he said.


Still, Libey admitted that the anthrax scare probably would have lasting effects. However, he said, "If you've taken the momentum out of your business, when the spotlight comes off mail you will be in the dark."


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