Food for Thought

Created the 07 October 2014 by Nicholas Marini

Food for Thought‘Mummy, what is a letter?’

I have a feeling that’s going to be a question asked along with the meaning of ‘rhino’ and ‘tiger’ - and not that far into the future.

Much is said about the demise/resurgence/re-demise of mail, but few would argue that a good, creative mail shot to an interested market is an excellent component of a successfully integrated DM campaign.

The problems start, however, when we look at costs.

There’s no way around the fact that postal campaigns in this country are expensive.  We are becoming more and more reliant on electronic messaging, which reaches a target market within seconds and doesn’t have to rely on a destination postbox – something sadly lacking in any numbers here. 

History has dictated the lack of postboxes in townships (the residents refused to put numbers onto their houses so that the security forces couldn’t identify them), which makes it difficult to target any market except businesses and residents in suburban areas.

The financial sector relies heavily on postal campaigns.  Computer Facilities has handled (and continues to do so!) campaigns for banks and insurance companies where massive bulk mailings of new product information is cost-effective: even if only 1% of the recipients take advantage of the offers it pays for the campaign as obviously, the bigger the campaign, the cheaper the printing and bulk postage.  Going through a company such as ours is even more cost-effective, as we assist with the design, we print and we post at special rates negotiated with SAPO.

For smaller companies, direct mail can still be effective if a) the destination is confirmed through a current database b) the offer is very attractive - coupons, magazines always work, and c) the follow-up is immediate and professional.  If the mail campaign is supported electronically, and if there’s something in the mailer that points towards a further product journey – to the website, for example – then there’s no reason why the expense shouldn’t be justified.

Research into neuroscience has shown that the brain reacts in a more positive way to a printed communication than to electronic – the retention period is longer, for example.  I’m not sure that I agree with Louis Gordon who - in his blog “Let’s Get Physical with Direct Mail’ in March of this year – says the following:

For example, the United States Postal Service found that 56% of ”Digital Natives” – the Millennials and Generation Z folks who are presumed to be purely paperless – feel that receiving mail is “a real pleasure.”2

Did you notice the use of word “real”? Interestingly, the realness of printed direct mail marketing pieces is the source of its power.


I’m one of those “Digital Natives’ and I have very little interest in receiving direct mail.  Maybe I just haven’t been targeted with something juicy enough to get my attention.   Any thoughts…..?

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  • 2014
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    Food for Thought
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    It's Hitting Home Fast
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    Computer Facilities Update
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    Developing A Smart Direct Marketing Campaign - Part 2
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    Developing A Smart Direct Marketing Campaign - Part 1
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    To Meet or Not to Meet
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    Lessons From Our Founder
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    Data Driven Communication