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Happy holidays with printer’s ink

Call me old-fashioned, but I still like getting the daily newspaper delivered to my door.

Every morning at 6 a.m., the L.A. Times arrives, waiting to be devoured. The UT appears on Sundays, The Coast News on Fridays, and my family gets its newsprint fix.

This past Sunday, my carrier included a holiday card. As a gentle reminder to send her a tip, she added a self-addressed return envelope.

Her work hours are unquestionably grueling, and being based in Escondido, she travels 60 miles round-trip daily to deliver my paper. Gas prices being what they are, it’s arguably a losing proposition.

Like restaurant wait staff, this woman counts on tips to make a living. Given my chronic desire for diversified news sources not involving a screen, there’s a pretty compelling argument to reward her more than her employers do.

Recently I heard someone say, “You’re the customer; she should send you a gift.” I reject this cheesy excuse to stiff her and am sending a check today.

Any sales effort always has the same marketing challenges:

  • Reach the proper audience
  • Have a solid message
  • Provide a compelling call to action
  • Make it easy for someone to give you their money

Meaning that, looking at this holiday card through a marketing filter, the solicitation makes perfect sense. After all, everyone on her list is a customer, meaning they’re 100% qualified. Making her point without being annoying, she simplifies the process.

Plus her timing is right, as this particular effort only works when people are feeling magnanimous during the holiday season.

The nice thing about direct mail is that it’s easy to target a specific audience profile, most likely to respond to your message. And if you have a house list like this woman does, you significantly increase your odds of getting a positive response.

You’re undoubtedly already hip deep in planning your 2024 marketing, and direct mail should be part of it. Given its ability to target the right people way better than most digital marketing does, the opportunity to use dimensional mailings (i.e., sending goodies by mail), and the reality that you’ll probably have the mailbox to yourself, you’d be foolish to not utilize this media to grow your bottom line.

Because as Ms. Contreras has demonstrated, direct marketing can be very effective.

With that said, I wish you a happy holidays from everyone at


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