its a rare thing useful DM. companies seem more than content to send me the same mailers time and time again, in the mistaken notion that this time I'll respond. when will they understand that I will - in my own good time - type what I want, when I want it, into the Google?
but I have been shaken out of my negativity by a piece of DM that is not only really rather pertinent to what it's trying to tell me (the power of touch), but has more utility than a useful thing in a tight spot... and whilst a 'reusable pack to warm you up when you need it' may not change the world as we know it, its infinitely more useful than a letter from Virgin telling me (again) that 865 Terra Byte broadband is now available in my postcode.
the effort is on behalf of the Mail Media Centre, a new source of intelligence and innovation for the direct mail industry courtesy of Royal Mail. the site aims to showcase - to planners and clients - compelling creative and expert advice, with the aim of encouraging excellence in direct mail.
the site is packed with case studies, stats, expert opinion on DM and even a response rate calculator to give you a steer on the number of impacts that might stick. all of which is good for two reasons...
one, DM isn't in my experience planned as closely alongside other media as it could, so anything that encourages planners (of all disciplines) to know more about how to plan the channel should be welcomed. two, even when it is integrated is isn't in my experience done very well... some great examples of stand-alone retailer use of the channel exist in the form of Tesco Clubcard and Boots Advantage Card mailings, but on the whole we seem to be satisfied with long copy and a 1.2% response rate.
getting something with utility from your brand and into the hands of your consumers is something that has a role to play in more than a few strategies, the trick is (1) targeting, so that you only invest in reaching the people you need to reach, (2) creativity, so that people invest their time and attention into what you're sending them and (3) building 'reasons to pass on'into the collateral you deploy: focus on a tighter group of people and give them reasons (and reward) to target other people on your behalf.
there's a storm heading for the DM industry and its called sustainability. DM needs to demonstrate that it has a necessary, efficient and effective role to play on any schedule. the MMC's initiative, and the useful bit of DM that it deployed to me, are two solid steps along the way.