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Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Grand Alliance: Email and Printed Mail

By Brad Chrysler

Eventually every business addresses the same issue: traditional, printed mail or email? While each has its pros and cons, as well as fans and opponents, the discussion swirling around these two mighty marketing tools always misses a blindingly obvious -- and profound -- point:

They both fall under the heading of direct mail. Simple as that.

That's right: Though much is made of their differences, the similarities between the two media are many, and profound. Think about it -- both are addressed directly to the reader as an individual. The best of both will actually feature the prospect's name. Both hint at some sort of personal knowledge about him or her. ("Hey Brad, your Honda CRV is due for an oil change!") Both are castigated as "junk" or "spam" -- until the email offer or direct mail coupon which arrives at precisely the moment it's needed. (Then both are entirely welcome pieces of "good news"!) Finally, both call for some sort of action within a specific time period, and offer a reward for doing so.

Instead of dissing one or the other, crafty marketers are simply taking advantage of both. And the craftiest of all are deploying them together in the same campaign. You could say that the fighting between them is over and they are now allies fighting together for the consumer's eyeballs. The two former enemies are now buddies in the same war!

Why? Because, just like soldiers in the same army, both offer what the other can't. While one can blitzkrieg through the data lines and conquer the inbox in a just a few moments, (and just as quickly disappear with one click), the other can slowly but inexorably crawl to the mail box over a few days, then capture the battleground of the kitchen table, counter, or desk for days, even months, if the offer is valuable enough. While email must be so truncated, it risks not communicating the whole story, the other provides heaps of information for decision-making. And while one is more pricey to make and mail, the other is almost comically cheap.

The differences are numerous. But the opportunities for partnership are limitless. For example, conventional mail can include an Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) that can be read and tracked as it moves through postal sorting machines, which gives marketers accurate information about when the piece should arrive at the target address. This allows them to email a "rife shot" (as contrasted with an email blast) to the prospect with the same offer on the exact day the direct mail piece arrvies. (Or shortly thereafter, whichever strategy works better.)

There are many more synergies between the two. The point is this: with all these complementary strengths and weaknesses, the two direct mail tactics are a marketing match made in heaven!

About the Author:

Want to find out more about direct mail and email campaigns? Then visit Commercial Letter's website to learn about SnailWorks, a powerful email/direct mail/web/mobile marketing platform that can turbo-charge your response.

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