Don't Put the Warhorse Out to Pasture

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Why must the mainstream media insist on using the term "junk mail" even when they're touting its many benefits? It happened again last week when The New York Times wrote about e-commerce companies discovering direct mail to help break through the clutter. Yes, readers of this publication will find that old news. The headline -- "Online businesses are supplementing their fleet e-mailings with an old warhorse: direct mailings" -- wasn't as bad as the line in the story that said, "... a growing number of e-commerce companies are hedging their bets with the terrestrial equivalent of spam: paper junk mail."

Interesting. Here's a story about companies that are finding success, yet it slams the process. The piece mentions a study by Forrester Research saying that 40 percent of people with at least four years of Internet surfing experience generally ignore e-mail marketing. That is why Net companies are looking for "an old warhorse" alternative. "With direct mail, you have maybe a couple more seconds to get someone's attention," Internet grocer told the Times.

The story concludes with a company that offers one supposed drawback to the concept. Online retailer Bluefly said direct mail may not be suited for all businesses, especially "dot-coms that don't necessarily have the luxury of time." Didn't the notion of Net speed go bye-bye along with all the venture capital? Forget that. There's a reason why there are so many types of marketing -- and each, either online or offline, has its purpose.

The Check's in the Mail

Though the government's $38 billion tax rebate won't do much to reverse the economic downturn, it certainly can't hurt. Several companies have jumped on the opportunity, running promotions to entice consumers to spend those $300 to $600 checks that are coming in. There's everything from a 5 percent bonus for people who cash their checks at Kmart to Home Depot's offer of no payment and no interest for six months.

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