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B2B marketers should still use direct mail - true or false?

Posted by Kenneth Connolly on 08-Nov-2013 11:55:00

As we approach the half-way point of 2015, the same old question still pops up in conversations and online forums and throws a cat among the pigeons... ‘Should we still use direct mail marketing?’ In a recent discussion we saw online, a huge number of people had posted their opinions on the subject and also stated whether they thought the channel could still generate ROI or not. However, of all the posts that were submitted, virtually none of them referenced lead nurturing, the sales funnel or direct mail’s position within it. And that’s why most marketers are wrong about this channel

It’s reported that as much as 48% of the UK population responded to a piece of direct mail they received in the past 12 months – 

In the past, direct mail meant creating a generic letter, postcard or leaflet; printing vast amounts; sending them to a list of cold prospects and hoping some of them would get in touch to buy the product/service. Positioning this channel at the top of the funnel as a way to generate leads was a costly tactic with declining response rates and ultimately lower ROI. Nowadays though, marketing is more targeted and refined than that.

With the continued rise in popularity of inbound and multi-channel marketing, direct mail is moving... further down the sales funnel.

To drive prospects into the sales funnel and convert them to leads, more cost-effective channels can now be used including social media, blogging and outbound email. Once the lead is in the funnel, they can then be nurtured towards a sale using targeted content such as ebooks, white papers and case studies. As they continue to do research, digest content and move down the sales funnel, they are becoming more ‘sales-ready’. And it’s at this point that direct mail is now a crucial marketing tool.

B2B Sales Funnel

When a marketing-ready prospect is at the tipping point of becoming sales-ready, a piece of highly targeted, highly personalised direct mail may be all that is needed to secure the all-important qualified lead or appointment

The days of generic mail being sent to a large group of recipients is long gone. To see the best ROI now, direct mail should only be sent to small, select groups of qualified prospects and it should be personalised specifically for each person.

Using information gathered from leads as they have progressed through the sales funnel (using indicators such as the content they downloaded and website pages they viewed); it should now be easy to create ideas/concepts for high-impact tangible direct mail pieces. To make sure that these pieces actually make it into the hands of the decision-maker and aren’t ‘removed’ by their receptionist or PA; make sure you send everything in a generic envelope with a handwritten label.

It’s about location, location, location

The question about direct mail isn’t whether marketers should or shouldn’t use it; it’s more about when and where it should be used. Targeting hot prospects with personalised direct mail as they approach the bottom of the sales funnel will generate excellent ROI... especially in a world where many online marketing channels have become a white noise. High-impact direct mail is all about achieving standout and making sure your brand leaves a lasting footprint on the decision-maker’s mind; ultimately boosting your lead generation activity. For more about generating and measuring the ROI from your marketing spend, read our ebook 'B2B Marketing ROI: Measuring Success'.

Read our ebook B2B Marketing ROI – Measuring Success

Topics: B2B marketing, B2B Direct Marketing, Direct mail marketing, B2B direct mail