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Why direct mail is more powerful than email in B2B demand generation.

Verdi clients are often pleasantly surprised by the results of their first direct-mail campaigns. While we tend to be conservative in projecting results, we expect better results from direct mail than from email. And when we get everything right — list, offer, creative, and follow-up telemarketing — we often exceed our projections.

Mail has a life of its own.
That’s because no matter how effective email is, it starts out at a big disadvantage: It goes out of mind once read, if it’s read at all. Direct mail — especially high-impact direct mail — often stays on the prospect’s desk long after it’s been opened, read, and shown to colleagues, peers, associates, and occasionally even to the prospect’s family members. We receive responses from B2B demand=generation mailings long after the campaign is considered over — sometimes two or three years after the mail date. We are even aware of instances in which a prospect will leave our clients’ mailing in plain view on the desk when the clients’ competitive sales reps come calling, just to watch the reps’ reaction.

All mail exists in three dimensions.
Even a postcard — the lowest-impact mail piece — has two sides and exists in three dimensions. This allows the prospect to prop it next to an out-box or pin it to a bulletin board if we are successful in developing a piece that generates enough interest. Mail has to be dealt with, and that’s a good thing, because while the prospect is deciding what to do with a mail piece, he or she is also considering its content. Forcing the prospect to confront the offer in many ways is one reason why we repeat the offer in multiple sections of the mailing. It’s also why a tiny note added to the mail package usually lifts response beyond what it would be without the note. Thus, its name in direct-mail jargon: “the lift note”.

Why telemarketing behind demand generation is essential.
When we send out a mail piece, especially a dimensional mail piece, we design it to leave an impression supporting the single most important point (SMIP) of the campaign, as stated in the creative brief. That impression preconditions the prospect and sets an expectation of a call with the mail piece used as a starting point for a conversation. While telemarketing alone is also more powerful than email, in our experience TM becomes exponentially more effective when it follows a high-impact direct-mail piece. 

When should B2B marketers test direct mail?
You should try direct mail when you’re ready for more from your marketing. When done right, direct mail will reach new prospects with a powerful message that sinks in and preconditions the prospect to accept a call from a sales representative. In addition, it will push the prospect to submit a web response or make a phone call.

Yes, direct mail will be more expensive than your other marketing efforts have been. Will it pay off in results? At Verdi, we can help you decide whether your expectations are reasonable and help you with a pro forma at your request. But we’ll also tell you that “your mileage may differ”. How will you know if you don’t try?