Prior to co-founding MoreVisibility ten years ago this month, I spent a decade consulting in the more traditional elements of Direct Marketing. This included a heavy focus on both direct mail and inside sales / call center activities.
When the Internet burst onto the scene in the late nineties, many people predicted that it would mark the beginning of the end for many of the channels that had been the core of Direct Marketing to that point.
The logic was straightforward, why would you ever need to send out another piece of mail or field another telephone call when all business could ultimately be conducted over the web, with greater efficiency and lower costs?
In a lot of ways, these predictions were accurate as the companies who supported those activities (call centers, mail shops, list brokers, printers, etc.) have seen their ranks trimmed considerably as there is a much smaller pie from which they can grab their slice.
That being said, the fact that many elements of the Direct Marketing industry have shrunken and are not being employed as often by organizations is not a reason to dismiss these tactics from your marketing strategy. For example, are you offering your customers and prospective customers an easy means of speaking with a live person if they want to? Are your phones adequately staffed during the hours that people are likely to call? Do you have a proven plan in place to follow up with inquiries that result from your website?
A similar argument can be made that direct mail, when used in a highly targeted manner, can be effective today. Fewer companies are using the mail and although it’s costly, it can still perform a valuable function when employed intelligently. This is particularly true when the value of bringing on a new client is significant due to a high ticket purchase or a recurring revenue model.
There is no question that the web is both the present and future platform that will define how marketing initiatives are carried out; but keep in mind other tactics and channels that have proven effective in the past as a complement to your internet marketing strategy.