Let’s flash back to 1990.

Operation Desert Shield begins. “The Simpsons” debuts on FOX TV, and a hole in the ozone layer is discovered above the North Pole. (These are not immediately thought to be related.) Microsoft releases Windows 3.0. Tim Berners-Lee publishes the first page on the World Wide Web. A gallon of gas costs $1.34 and a first-class stamp, 25¢. It’s the year the U.S. enters a major recession … and the year the “partners” of EdgeMark Partners take their first steps to becoming the experienced, boutique direct marketing company we are today.

So, why the trip down Throwback Turnpike? Well, it’s simply to make a point: Just look at the impact those 25 years have had on the way we live our lives, on the way we access information, the way we make our purchasing decisions, and even the options we bring to today’s marketing challenges. Having reached the 25-year mark handling complex marketing and notification projects for clients all across the country, we find ourselves looking back often in appreciation of the opportunities we’ve had to push the envelope and grow alongside the clients we serve. Now in 2015, we’ve decided to mark this milestone, our Silver Anniversary, by taking a few moments to look back — and forward — every so often and to share a few thoughts about this business that energizes our days.

Direct Mail — It Still Works

Today let’s look back at two of the big 1990 goings-on noted above — the founding of the Internet and the cost of a first-class stamp. Most of us couldn’t have imagined then the changes digital communication would make in our lives and in our work, but today we have more ways to share information and enhance our messaging than we can count — and the options are constantly changing. Although in 2015 direct mail is no longer the only game in town when it comes to marketing, fundraising and other business communications, it continues to be a best-choice and cost-effective medium in the marketing continuum.

In 2015, a well-designed and targeted direct mail campaign typically plays an important role in a multichannel marketing effort. It can be an effective tool to drive your audience to a website or a designated landing page, for example, offering any number of ways to communicate and interact with customers and prospects. Of course, just as in 1990, your mail piece must pique the recipient’s curiosity in two seconds or less, drawing the reader into the piece and compelling the desired response. To do it…

  • Capture attention with a strong offer and compelling copy.  Your mail piece must include a strong call-to-action, giving readers a reason to follow up by phone, mail or online. When directing your readers to a landing page, make it as easy as possible for them to arrive at the intended destination, using a short URL, pURLs or QR codes.
  • Drive recipients to a well-designed, targeted page for telling the rest of the story and capturing contact information. Continuing your campaign visually on your landing page lets your visitors know instantly they are in the right place. While your mail piece is the launching pad, the web page can speak in more detail, giving you more opportunities to close the sale. The flexibility of a landing page lets you …
  • Keep your mail piece simple, driving each targeted audience to a specifically crafted page. Benefits include the option to build variable offers online as well as comparatively unlimited space for offer specifics and product details, specs, disclosures and more. Plus, you can…
  • Track your mailing and online traffic to know what’s working well and what could be improved. Free tools let even smaller businesses with tighter budgets monitor web traffic in a number of ways as well. But more about that in future musings.
What’s Old is New Again … Sort Of

Celebrating a Silver Anniversary year is an interesting exercise. Looking back at accomplishments and milestones can be rewarding, amusing, and maybe even a little unsettling. Flashing back to 1990 doesn’t work for everyone, after all. Some of our most accomplished marketing professionals today were just getting started in life, rather than careers, in 1990. So given the difference in life experience, here’s an interesting fact that underscores the likelihood of a bright future for direct mail:EMP.stamp¢.PC

According to the Statistical Fact Book 2014 published by the DMA, very young adults (aged 24 and younger) are among the most mail-responsive groups today. Not only do people in general still enjoy going to the mailbox and finding something interesting to read, handle and act on — the most online-connected generation of adults in history does, too. From where we sit, that’s a fact that looks good to us.

Thanks for reading today and celebrating with us our 25th year in business. We appreciate your comments and invite you to let us know of other topics you’d like to read about here.

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