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A 68-page glossy catalog from Amazon may be coming to a mailbox near you. Courtesy photo
Ask Mr. MarketingColumns

Don’t bury print just yet, folks!

Digital marketing has made it an article of faith that print is obsolete. 

Yet how do you explain the 68-page glossy catalog that just arrived in my mailbox from Amazon?

Filled with toys, party accoutrements, clothing and stocking stuffers of every stripe, I read a story about how the catalog is mailed to a select few every year. “No one seems to know how to get added to the mailing list,” the author said breathlessly.

My catalog was addressed to “Resident.” So much for exclusivity.

There’s only one reason for this glossy catalog to exist: to drive traffic to Amazon’s website and sell merchandise.

Consider that for a minute: Amazon’s $500-plus billion business accounts for 6.5% of all US retail sales and 44.9% of digital retail spending … and it’s using print to grow its business! 

You’ve got to wonder what does Jeff Bezos (net worth $139 billion) know that you don’t?

Regular readers may recognize this conversation. Why do Google, AT&T and other behemoths rely on print for reminding customers to make appointments or purchases? Because it works! Consider the following:

• The Postal Service (USPS) delivers mail to 152.2 million homes and 12.7 million businesses six days per week, making it very economical to reach extremely targeted audiences.

• 62% of millennials have visited stores in the past month based on information received in the mail; 69% like getting coupons in the mail; and 58% worry less about direct mail privacy than digital communications privacy. 

• Most businesses focus on digital marketing. Appearing in a customer’s mailbox, print helps you stand out of the crowd, with little competition for attention.

The USPS offers numerous programs, including first class, postcards, Every Door Direct Mail and bulk. That gives you options for your marketing efforts.

Naturally, I’d never suggest using direct mail exclusively, any more than I’d suggest relying strictly on public relations, social media, sales promotion or any other single tool. Smart marketing demands smart planning, and a good marketing strategy looks at your business communications holistically. 

A good strategist is also constantly testing new content and approaches, and direct mail provides an excellent vehicle for doing controlled A/B testing.

All of which boils down to taking another look at direct mail as a marketing tool. It’s sure to grow your bottom line.

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.

Put life in your marketing:

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