Thursday, October 24, 2013

Costs of a direct mail campaign

For many years direct mail has allowed marketers to build both leads and sales in a highly cost effective fashion. If you're new to the game, though, you may be wondering how cost effective direct mail is today. With spikes in fuel prices and seemingly never ending increases in the cost to mail anything, it may seem far-fetched to believe that direct mail can continue to provide a solid ROI for marketers.

Fortunately, there are a variety of media you can use when putting together a direct mail campaign, and your cost will vary quite a bit depending on what you're looking to send out. Here are some fairly popular examples and a rough idea of what each would cost to print, prep and send.

The cost estimates for each of these is based on 5,000 units:
  • Jumbo postcard (the size of half a sheet of paper, 8.5 x 5.5) - $2,000
  • Standard letter with return envelope included - $2,500
  • Single color standard postcard - $1,750
  • 2- color newsletter - $2,200
  • Glossy 2-sided self mailer - $2,200
The prices above are only loose estimates, there are many other prepress and design elements that can effect costs, but these should provide a decent rule of thumb for expected costs.

Interestingly, though direct mail is seen by many as a dinosaur still hanging on in the digital age, there is research that states otherwise. Lisa Formica of FMI said in an article in Forbes that, "Direct mail surprisingly transcends the age demographic, with younger consumers (the 18- to 34-year-old demographic) preferring to learn about marketing offers via postal mail rather than online sources, according to national survey research from ICOM."

As far as ROI, despite the plethora of other options for marketing outreach, direct mail's ability to put something physical into people's hands still makes it the most effective. Target Marketing magazine showed that customer acquisition and retention is still direct mail's game to lose, at it outscored all other marketing outreach programs for B2C marketing.

Maybe it's time we all consider the costs and returns of this "dinosaur".

About the author: Amanda Sozak is a contributing writer to several marketing and business related sites around the web including Miami, Florida direct mail provider Ritter's Communication. Learn more about Amanda on G+.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Exploring Services


One of the most common mistakes that I see in service organizations s that they mix sales and billings together. I applaud those services organizations hat understand that selling is a profession and which have put in place sales people with targets – well done. Unfortunately, many of them link sales targets to billings – revenue. Billings are linked to delivery – and sales people don’t deliver. Why set them targets, therefore, for something over which they have no control? A service organizations delivering consultancy will have a project manager who controls when the service is delivered. They are the ones responsible to the client for delivery. In most cases they will also be responsible for the billing. So why would you set the sales guy a billing target? It’s mad. You end up having two people looking at delivery and, while the sales guy is pestering the project manager about billings, he is obviously not out looking for the new business necessary to create the work required to keep the consultants in work. High utilization of consultants brings high billings. Service organizations need to make sure their sales people are set targets on contract value only. Don’t link their commission to billings. Do this and their focus will be on what they do best – bringing in new business.