Don't Overlook the Cost of Making an Impression, DMB Speaker Says

ORLANDO, FL — Direct marketers who think that DM costs are inexpensive need to consider the cost per impression, Spyro Kourtis, president of DM agency The Hacker Group, told attendees at the DMA's Direct Marketing to Business conference here yesterday.

“When they compare it to general brand advertising they think that it's not expensive,” Kourtis said during his “Direct and Electronic Mail: Get the Best of Both Worlds!” presentation.

But making the comparison on a cost-per-impression basis, he said, reveals the opposite conclusion. This led to his next conclusion: DM is not good for creating awareness or building brand.

“DM doesn't have a lasting impression,” he said. “Nobody stands around the water cooler discussing that great mail package they received,” he said.

Kourtis then compared that with his belief that half the viewership of the Super Bowl tunes in for the ads.

“[The general agencies] attempt to create awareness,” he said. “We can't afford to do it. Why? Because of this cost issue. We need to move them further into the sales pipeline.”

He also discussed some e-mail challenges for BTB marketers. Once again, he led into the topic by presenting a statistic: spam costs U.S. firms $20 billion annually in lost productivity, clogged e-mail systems, storage costs and other factors.

“This is your No. 1 challenge — spam,” he said. “You compete against spam. It's about $600 to $1,000 per employee is what it's costing. Although you have, maybe, an opt-in e-mail list, this is what you face.”

Then he mentioned the cost misconception.

“People believe that opt-in lists don't cost a lot of money,” he said. “That's not the case. When you find highly targeted files, opt-in files, they're very, very expensive — in some cases more expensive than what it costs on the traditional side to rent the file, to produce a piece and mail it, including U.S. postage.”

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