19 October 2005

Direct Mail & your brand

Direct Mail is a critical component of any marketing strategy for your business to business or business to consumer focussed brand. And it is a growing business. But the quality of Direct Mail in Malaysia and the mining and management of the data used is horrendous.

If a company wants to destroy the faith in your brand, prepare a badly written product sheet on your desktop, don't spell check the document. Print 10,000 copies and shove them in all the letter boxes at an office or apartment complex in the klang valley. While your sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring (assuming you included it on the DM - and believe me, some don't), your 'DM campaign' is being thrown in the rubbish bin by the lift, used as a place mat for lunch or simply thrown on the floor by the mail boxes. Hardly an inspiring 'moment of truth' first time experience for your brand and potential customer.

Another way to damage your brand is to send the wrong material to the wrong people. I have three kids, two under the age of 8. Yet they receive a minimum of two offers from credit card companies a year. You all state that applicants must be at least 18 years of age, so why are you sending application forms to my kids? I really lose faith in financial institutions when they make such mistakes. Think of the money wasted on the cost of name, brochure, envelope, administration and so on.

Of course it may be that Malaysian firms want to kill off their brands completely. In that case, all they need do is spend a fortune designing a brochure and then mail it to a dead person.

In 2004, in the UK, firms spent RM17.5 billion on direct mail that generated RM196 billion of business. DM can be effective because it allows consumers to read about the products and services before deciding to explore further, or even buy.

The key for all direct marketing is get the customer information right in the first place and keep it updated accurately thereafter. If you don't have the resources to do it, outsource. There are many firms offering suppression services and it is money well spent.

There is an edict within Direct Marketing industry that says, "Right offer, right person, right time." And the DB tools needed to make this happen are available in off the shelf, shrink wrapped software. So it's time for Malaysian firms, from start up to Bhd, to end all this untargetted, uninspiring, untrackable, unproofed garbage and start building brands with quality marketing colateral.
TEXT

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