Telemarketing Software Featured Article

Telemarketing & Direct Mail: A Surprisingly Powerful Combination

August 02, 2012
By Steve Anderson - Contributing Telemarketing Software Writer

Much has been made about the death of mail; between budget crises at the post office and the declining number of jokes made about the stuff--who actually gets paper mail any more unless it shows up in a big red envelope with Netflix stamped on the front?--it's easy to say that mail in general is on the way out. But a recent report suggests that the reports of mail's demise may be exaggerated, and combining mail with telemarketing may be a more powerful combination than previously envisioned.

The DMA's 2012 Response Rate Report suggests that direct mail is actually more responded to than other, more digital, forms of marketing. Response rates are universally poor, of course, with telephone getting the best response rate at a meager 12.95 percent house response, but mail actually outranks e-mail by a factor of around 30, with e-mail seeing a .12 percent house response and direct mail (letter-sized) getting a 3.4 percent response rate.

Naturally, many businesses are familiar with the objections to telemarketing. It's pushy, it's disruptive, it has an extremely negative public perception which in turn can color responses, and on the B2B level it only gets worse with gatekeepers throwing their metaphorical monkey wrenches into the operation. Mail, meanwhile, doesn't have near the objection capability of telemarketing, as it's much less obtrusive--it comes at roughly the same time every day, needs to be collected, and can be looked at whenever--plus it has the added advantage of restating its terms and conditions every time it's picked up. But making attractive mail is a lot more costly than making a phone call, and responses are tough to measure. It's also much slower, and determining just how much information to put into a mailing can be tough, and environmental concerns can also color responses.

Combining the two, however, can be a much more powerful solution. Mail can be designed to tell targets to expect a call, or a call can be used to tell targets to expect mailings. Even better, the combination, done correctly, can be used to incite targets to make the call themselves, which is the best solution of all as it shows clear interest in the product or service being offered. In some cases, targets even find themselves reacting more favorably to mail than e-mail, as e-mail is so ubiquitous now that all the personal touches are lost.

While marketing in general is every bit as much science as it is art, it's not an exact science, so finding out which mix works best for a particular area and a particular market will take some trial and error. But using a combination of marketing methods could be just what a business needs to put a little extra life in its sales operations, and combining direct mail with telemarketing may be just the combination that struggling businesses need right now.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. For more information on registering for ITEXPO click here.

Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO. Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman