A few weeks ago, the vice president of a regional staffing company asked for my help with a postcard campaign. My response was, “Sure—but why waste all that time, paper, and money?”
Don’t get me wrong: I think postcards are great. I love getting a beautiful card from a good friend who’s traveling through a far-off locale. I’m also happy when one of my favorite restaurants sends me a postcard with a coupon for discounts on pizza and hot wings.
Any other postcard that comes through my mailbox, however … well, I categorize it as junk mail and send it straight into the recycling bin with hardly a second glance. Most people follow a similar practice when sorting through their mail. Bills, personal correspondence, financial documents, magazines—we instantly recognize those as meaningful items and set them aside. The rest usually gets discarded.
Business-to-business (B2B) direct-mail marketers promote postcards as a low-cost and effective means of communication. I’ve been a successful marketer for several years, and based on my experience I can confidently state that B2B postcards are only mildly effective at capturing the attention of your audience and compelling them to take action. So even if you manage to print and mail postcards at a very low cost, if the response rate isn’t good enough, you’re throwing your money and time away.
As the luster wears off the online daily deal sites (e.g., Groupon, Living Social), marketers are relying again on direct mail. And for good reason: direct mail has a proven track record, and so far few marketing formats have been able to approach its effectiveness and affordability. In direct mail, however, there’s a huge difference between B2B campaigns and business-to-customer (B2C) campaigns. Each has its own parameters and expectations, and what works in one doesn’t necessarily work in the other.
Case in point: postcards. Postcards work well for B2C campaigns and will continue to drive action in that marketing arena for the foreseeable future. But if your goal is to reach out to other businesses, then postcards aren’t the way to go. To communicate your message effectively and efficiently in a B2B campaign, you’ll need branded publishing, a direct-mail format ideal for that marketing context.
Previous posts (see here, here, and here, for example) in this blog have defined branded publishing generally and discussed many of its benefits. Contact us at Mamu Media to learn what branded publishing can do for you specifically and your own B2B marketing campaigns!