Direct-Mail Advertising



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Direct-Mail Advertising
Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.
Stephen Leacock
Philosopher extraordinaire
Really good direct mail works like picking your prospect up by the ankles and shaking him until all the money falls out of his pockets.
Matthew Samp
Direct Mail Copy & Graphic Design
As consumers, we are often bombarded by different types of advertisements each day. Whether it’s by television, newspaper, or billboards, advertising has reached us one way or another. Yet, a majority of the ads that we encounter are often meaningless and uninteresting mainly because of the fact that these ads are meant to reach a certain target audience.
This perception seems to change, however, when we look inside our mailboxes, pick-up our telephone, and even check our e-mail. We often ponder how marketers know that we have a pet snake, own a certain kind of computer, or even wear 70’s clothing. That is because every time we purchase products such as: electronics, computer software, and other products, direct-mail advertising is in the air. Every time we send those warranties and registration forms back to the manufacturer; as consumers we are often unaware that we are sending information about ourselves that will be used as; statistical, personal, and informative data for future marketing purposes. Thus, marketers and advertisers know what kinds of products to target us with.

Although direct-mail, or as we call it “junk-mail”, somehow finds its way to our homes and businesses, it can be considered as a convenient way for us to shop without having to leave the house, since as consumers, we are often pressed for time.
In order to understand direct-mail advertising, we will be discussing this unique medium in a broad spectrum of subjects and then give an example of a company that successfully used direct mail advertising. Among the subjects we will be discussing are: what direct-mail advertising is, the historical development of the medium, different methods and types of mail, the future of direct-mail advertising, and the internet’s use of the medium for visual communication.
Direct Mail
Direct-mail advertising is a form of medium used by direct marketers; it is the most personal and selective of all media. This highly specialized mail can be purchased (among the thousands available are lists of various level students, business professionals, college professors, pregnant women, and even vintage car owners), but they can be expensive. Printing and postage fees make the cost of direct mail per person reached quite high compared with other forms of media. However, if direct mail goes only to the people the advertiser wishes to contact, there is no wasted coverage. Reaching the prospect does not, however, ensure that the message is received. Direct mail is pure advertising. Therefore, a direct-mail ad must attract its own readers. This is critical when you consider that the average American home receives more than 10 direct mail pieces a week and that the recipient of such ads decide in few seconds whether to discard or open it.
Historical Development
During the 1950’s and early 1960’s, computers emerged to be common business tools. Marketers were able to collect, store, and manipulate larger amounts of data to aid marketing decision makers. Out of this capability developed the marketing information system (MkIS)- an ongoing, organized procedure to generate, analyze, disseminate, store, and retrieve information for use in making marketing decisions.

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Another useful tool that developed for marketers is the decision support system (DSS). This particular system is a computerized procedure that permits the marketing manager to interact with data and use various methods of analysis to incorporate, examine, and characterize information. This computer-based procedure adds acceleration and versatility to the MkIS.
These useful computer-based systems are then organized, stored, and updated in what is known as a database. This is perhaps the nucleus for all direct-marketers, because it has allowed them to narrow their specific target market by identifying the market’s special interests, buying behavior, and purchasing power.

With the developments of these three interrelated computer-strategically systems, direct mail then emerged to be one of the many tools that direct-marketers conveniently use to target their markets.

Growth of Direct Mail
Direct mail is successful because it matches today’s lifestyles; families

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