Direct Mail is Dead. Long Live Direct Mail

As you all know by now I am a major proponent of social marketing, and actually run a business that depends on it.

To stay abreast of all the latest information and social media sites, I read every book and attend just about every webinar around.  I have participated in two separate summits offered by Social Media Examiner, one on Facebook and one on Social Media.  For anyone that hasn’t attended one of their summits, it is a series of on-line seminars offered two days a week over several weeks, and features some of the greatest names in social media, including Jason Falls, Chris Brogan, Scott Monty, and Mari Smith.  So, when Social Media Success Summit 2012 was announced, I gave serious thought to attending.  But my schedule really wouldn’t allow me the opportunity to attend all the sessions live, so I passed.

Every e-mail I receive from Social Media Examiner has a reference to the summit, and I have received several targeted e-mails from them specifically talking about their latest summit.

So imagine my surprise when I received a direct mail postcard, offering me (as a past attendee) the opportunity to save 67% on their newest summit “if I ACT NOW”.

Wow.  A social media powerhouse has sent me a direct mail piece telling me to “act now”.  I couldn’t believe it.  But, there it was, plain as day.  An advertisement, sent through the U.S Mail, for a virtual social media conference.

Does this throw everything I have learned (much of it from Social Media Examiner) about social media out the window?  Does this mean social media really doesn’t work?

Deep breath.  Count to 10.

So, what does it mean that one of the biggest social media companies is resorting to direct mail?  Simply that social media is not the be-all and end-all of marketing.  It means that any good marketing plan MUST include a mix on on-line and traditional marketing.  It means that you need to reach yor clientele any way you can.

It means that direct mail is not dead.  It means that there may be other ways to reach your audience.

Before beginning any marketing plan, whether it’s social media or traditional, you need to evaluate the best ways to reach your customers.  You need to ask yourself, who your audience is, what you know about how they receive their marketing information, and whether they are a demographic that spends a large percentage of time online or are they more likely to be receptive to print advertising.  And you need to understand that you should never put “all your eggs in one basket” to get your customers to “act now”.

What methods do you use to reach your audience?  Have you been successful with social marketing?  Traditional marketing?  Both?  Let me know.


Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you.  He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line.  EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business.  Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107.




  1. Craig,
    This is an excellent article on the mix of traditional advertising and online marketing. I think you should either frame this postcard or put it in your safety deposit or fireproof box. It will be very valuable one day.
    I would have been shocked if I had gotten that card but I am jealous that I did not get one. Your evaluation and explanation for getting it and their sending it is a lesson in marketing itself. To quote from your post the essence of a good marketing campaign:
    1. who is your audience? what do you know about how they receive their marketing information? are they a demographic that spends a large percentage of time online or are they more likely to be receptive to print advertising?
    2. any good marketing plan MUST include a mix on on-line and traditional marketing
    3. social media is not the be-all and end-all of marketing
    4. evaluate the best ways to reach your customers
    5. never put “all your eggs in one basket” to get your customers to “act now”
    6. you need to reach your clientele any way you can

    Personally, I love well designed print materials. In fact, I collect them as a hobby. I have boxes and boxes of them and any time I have a good reason to send out a glossy post card to knock people’s socks off to get their undivided attention I do. Good for Social Media Examiner for having the guts to go print and thank you for the fantastic analysis and evaluation of their action.

    By the way, how much do you want for the post card?

  2. Thanks for the great comment, Alison. I was shocked when I received it. But realized that it was a perfect blend of marketing strategies.

    And, the postcard isn’t for sale. Yet.


  3. When you decide to auction it off, I want to get my bid in first for the postcard. Actually, I wonder if they would send me one of my own. What a good idea. I think I will give that a try first.

  4. Hey Craig,

    Thanks for the write up!

    We sent about 10,000 of those to folks who attended our prior summits. As you can see by the big white band across the front, the printer messed up.

    Regardless, we got about 60 sales and it cost us $5000 to mail those post cards.

    For comparative analysis we also sent out an email to folks who previously attended our events. The sales were significantly higher.

    So, at the end of the day is direct mail useful? Maybe…

    It really depends on who you are targeting and what the offer is. But then again, isn’t all marketing about that 🙂

    • Hi, Mike.

      Thank you for taking the time to share your results. Very interesting that the direct mail piece wasn’t as successful. But I think I can understand it. You are sending it to past attendees, and they would have a presence in social media (at least if they follow what they have learned). They would be less apt to be swayed by a postcard.

      I’m sorry I’m not attending this one. Probably the next, however, as I always find something new and useful from your summits.

      Thank you!


  5. Mike and Craig,
    I bet if you sold the post cards as souvenirs, you would make your money back. How’s that for thinking outside the box! I do have to admit though that I feel a bit smug that social media overcame snail mail once again as a marketing tool. But it was a bold move and now this is a collector’s item.

    Maybe you can put the word out to people who received them that they can sell them for this purpose. I bet others would consider it a novelty. In fact, folks could sell them on eBay. I would be the first buyer.


  6. This discussion is so fun!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: