Direct Mail – A Brief Introduction

Direct Mail marketing can be defined as “marketing through a channel that reaches the consumer directly”. The channel is usually through a mailer. Direct mail marketing is also known as “Direct Response Marketing” but there are those who refer to this as “Junk Mail”. That is mainly because all of us receive so many direct mails these days that we hardly open any and as a result most of them end up as junk. And so the receiver does not end up taking the desired action that the business wants it to take. In fact these days people are receiving so many direct mails that some companies are offering them an option to opt out of receiving the mailers.

But that was not the case before. When direct mail started it was quite effective (in many countries where consumers do not receive so many mailers it still is), and so the business could stand to gain from it. But now in places such as the US, direct mails have mostly lost their effectiveness.

Channels of Direct Mail

Some popular channels of direct mail include advertising circulars, pre-approved credit cards, product catalogs, discount coupons, invitations, and many other unsolicited commercial merchandise that the consumer may not be interested in at all, or at best is indifferent about. Often companies do not send such direct mails to one and all but select groups of customers based on a geographical area, income group or social belonging. But even then the target group is rather large because the response rate is quite low.

What Made Direct Mail So Popular Once

Notwithstanding its problems, direct mail had many advantages and that is why it became so popular. To begin with, it is a ‘one to one communication’ and so the business can reach the customer directly. There are no noises in the system, meaning that the business can inform the customer whatever it wants him to know. Direct mail is also cheaper to deliver ad so for the same expense as television ads for example, the business can reach a far bigger number of customers.

Consumers while reading a newspaper tend to avoid looking at the advertisement insertions and when they see television, they tend to go for a drink when the commercials are running. When it comes to billboards most people tend to take just a fleeting glance as they are on the move while driving. But that is not the case with direct mail because it is sort of ‘up on the face’ and thus the concentration levels of the consumers are much higher. The lack of any distraction means that the receiver ca takes a decision after considering the validity of the offer and how attractive it is to him. Because of this, it has been seen that the response rate of direct mail is often higher.

But the challenge as mentioned above is to stand out from all the different mailers a person get and make him open it and read.

Copywriting And Direct Marketing Master Class: Revelations From The Book Moneyball

“If you are going to pay these guys $150,000 a year to do this, we should at least know how good they are… “

Bill James

1977 Baseball Abstract.

“If you are going to spend $5,000 on a single trade journal ad, then we at least want to know how many responses we get.”

Zac Nelles’ direct marketing corollary.

That quote pretty much sums up why Bill James is so important to direct marketing. This isn’t new but it was the first time I was able to grasp just how powerful paying attention to the right information is.

Most of us have seen the movie Moneyball and are familiar with Billy Beane and the Oakland A’s ability to punch with the best despite one of the lowest salary caps in the league. What is not really covered in any great detail in the movie, are the men led by Bill James who make this possible.

When they are able to draft league leading hitters in the junk rounds of the draft, pluck pitchers out of ‘single A’ ball teams who are able to dominate at the Major League level, you have an unfair advantage. It is all done by knowing which stats reflect actual performance. The canonical stats used in baseball do not help – Beane and the A’s don’t use them and are able to beat better teams because of it.

By tracking your marketing you are able to punch above your weight.

You know that one version of an Ad will generate leads at $50 a pop while another at $25, when sent to the same list.

Which ad do you run and which do you scrap? Well you’d never know unless you pay attention to your stats.

All in all a simple thing to do but most of us blatantly ignore doing it. I just met with a client, who would tell me things like “we stopped doing ‘X’ because we weren’t happy with the results.”

“Why?”

“Just cos… “

No bothering with hard data, no rational decision – based on the fact that it increased costs by X and that was unacceptable.

Just an arbitrary decision. Many times, even though it is emotionally unappealing it may actually make statistical sense to do it.

Big data is just in its infancy outside of its own little world. The guy who can crunch numbers and pick statistical trends is more highly prized than the ad sales guy by many institutional marketers. Soon you’ll be competing against Moneyball operations with much deeper pockets than yours.

Then what could have been an edge for you will turn into a nightmare. People who know what they can spend to get a customer will bully the ignorant around.

You’ll still be able to create a better ad, you just need another skill before you can really take advantage of it.

What Moves the Currency Market?

The Forex Market trades $3.2 trillion dollars in volume each day. This fact alone shows the liquidity in this market and there are always buyers and sellers in the market 24 hours a day, 6 days a week. There are four major sessions in the U.S., Asian, European and London markets.

Who are the participants? Central Banks i.e. Fed’s, BOJ, ECB, BOE, and other countries; Large Institutions/Corporations, Bond Market (treasuries), Private Equity, Hedge Funds, Large Sovereign Buyers, Banks/Remittance, Clearing Houses, and Retailers.

In the U.S., the economic indicators are signals for the health of the economy. They show the signs of inflationary or deflationary market sentiment. Inflation is good for the economy and show signs of a stronger dollar. Deflation is a negative sentiment for the economy and show signs of a weaker dollar. These are the basic fundamentals for a strong or weak dollar in the U.S. compared to other countries and their fundamental analysis.

The market sentiment is the fundamental analysis i.e. economic indicators being released during each sessions and then being measured by the weakness or the strength of the actual number forecasted by the previous number. The market conditions are the volume pressures of buyers/sellers moving the trend in one market direction.

Majority of the currencies are against the U.S. dollar either indirect or direct with the dollar. So in conclusion what moves the currency market is the relative strength or weakness on the fundamental news. This will move the currency market and the volume pressures of buyers/sellers will move the currency market also.