When the Internet came along, many businesses felt that direct mail no longer held any value. After all, the customers were all heading online, and the smart companies needed to follow them there.
Perhaps that is why all those early web users were faced with a barrage of banner ads, flashing text, animation and graphics every time they went to their favorite site. These ads were attempts to get the attention of viewers, and they worked – at least for awhile.
The problem is that website visitors quickly learned to tune out the advertising messages that surrounded them. That in turn made the ads less effective and more costly for the companies that continued to run them. Web marketing was still a viable business, but it was far from the road to riches so many Internet pioneers had promised.
These days the marketplace is even more saturated, with more and more companies trying to find a niche in the new digital world. That market saturation has many companies rethinking their marketing strategies and looking for methods that provide a greater return per dollar spent.
That is why so many companies are starting to tailor their advertising messages in an attempt to provide every customer with exactly what he or she wants and needs. Not too long ago this kind of personalization would have been impossible, but today it is increasingly cost effective for even small firms.
The reason for the change lies in the vast amount of data that is now available to companies of all sizes. Consumer information is a huge business, and smart companies are increasingly tapping into that wealth of information to find out exactly what their customers want and which marketing methods will be most effective.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, traditional mail continues to have an important place at the table – both in terms of market exposure and in terms of customer response. The key to the success of any marketing campaign is to provide the customer with relevant information and deliver that information in the proper format. In many cases the best format is a simple and inexpensive postcard rather than an email or other electronic communication.
The never-ending march of technology has provided companies with both challenges and opportunities. On one hand the widespread availability of Internet access has made it easier than ever to reach customers. On the other hand, many of those potential customers have long ago learned to tune out email promotions and marketing messages, and that can make reaching those consumers extremely difficult.
That is why a combination approach is often the best strategy. By combining highly targeted electronic communications like special offers, coupons and discounts with old fashioned mailed postcards, companies can reach those consumers who are most likely to respond to their offers. That kind of targeting can reduce marketing costs while improving the return for each dollar spent.