Direct mail is still DM champion

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We're seeing an explosion of new technologies and advertising possibilities in handheld devices, rich media, personalized URLs, digital billboards, SEM and more.

It's smart for businesses to explore new ideas. But, let's be clear: Ignore direct mail at your peril. It's still the most reliable way to reach people in business or at home. It offers a reach that's wider and deeper than any other medium. It also offers richer list and targeting possibilities. There are few restrictions for formats or message contents and no blacklisting or filtering issues. And, despite the continued use of terms like "junk mail" or "snail mail," people actually do like to receive direct mail.

A recent survey by International Communications Research concluded that people prefer receiving things by direct mail.
Seventy-three percent of respondents said they prefer receiving new product announcements by mail, versus 18% for e-mail. And, a whopping 86% said they prefer direct mail for official correspondence, such as bills, bank statements and financial reports, compared to 10% for e-mail.

But, don't people sort direct mail over the trash can? Sure. But fewer people trash unsolicited direct mail when compared to e-mail, 31% to 53%.

I love e-mail marketing. I use it and so do my clients. And, I love all the other new media too. But, if you want a surefire way to reach specific individuals, deliver a message in the way you want, in a format you choose, with the least possibility of getting ignored, you should use direct mail.

And, for those who think direct mail will eventually be replaced by other media, forget it. Direct mail is personal, tangible, and profitable. It may evolve. But it will always be part of the mix for smart, aggressive direct marketing companies.

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