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Industries that Thrive Using Direct Mail in a Down Market

Posted by Brian Berg Google+


Below are the categories and industries that, in effect, weather better than businesses in other industries.  These industry types are not all weather proof but more weather resistant than others.  The categories below give you a feel for the logical reasoning of how businesses are affected by our ever changing economy.


Upgrades Can Wait


Products and Services


*  Auto Parts stores

* Uses car dealerships

* Auto repair service

*  Do-it-yourself home improvement




Why buy new when you can repair or trade for used and save thousands.  With the current home values so low, it’s virtually impossible to sell without bring cash to closing.  Homeowners stay put if they can, make repairs if they are need, and remodel to breath new life into their aging home. Consider a homeowners mailing list and filter those homeowners with home equity.  This is easily done by looking at length of residence as one of your filters. 


Also consider a New Homeowners mailing list.  New Homeowners typically get busy with repair jobs and need products for those home repair projects.


Budget Pinch


Products and Services


* Discounted Product providers such as Wal-Mart and Dollar Store

* Furniture Liquidators

* Non-branded household necessities such as Publix brand vs. the more expensive brand

* Consignment stores




It’s time to cut the credit cards and attempt to save what little money might be going around.  Painful but necessary, those who can do without, do without. Clipping coupons, and shopping more wisely in the party line in a down market. Direct mail marketers should consider targeting a variety of demographics that suit the furniture offers in the store.  Most consumer mailing lists will include income, age, homeowner, marital status, child present, and age of child. 


These mailing list selects will help to pinpoint the direct mail audience as well as allow you to version your message more appropriately.  With furniture liquidation sales, it’s better to expand your geographic radius to find the ideal shopper than it is to waste money attempting to convince the more local residence that will simply not part for new furniture.


Budget Travel




Businesses decisions are generally black and white.  For the most part, businesses will do whatever they can legally do to stay afloat.  If they have to spend their last dime on advertisement, they simply must do it.  With wages needing to be paid, cash-flow must come in or the business simply closes.  And cutting expenses where they can is also a decision of economics.  Most all businesses need office equipment but if they can save a few bucks in hard times, they’ll look to buy used.  They can also use the help of a lease negotiator to help them renegotiate their existing lease or relocate to a more favorable arrangement. 


They business mailing lists this market is pretty straight forward, you’ll can filter by SIC code that helps identify the type of businesses you want to direct mail to.  The business mailing list can also be filtered by sales volume, employee size, or reach only mom and pop type businesses.  The business mailing list can include the contact name of the primary decision maker at that mailing address location and a phone number for a follow up call.




As you can imagine, entertainment is one of the first expenses to be cut in a down market.  Consumers throughout the US begin tightening their belts, staying indoors, and enjoying activities that last longer, cost less or nothing at all.  Many families look will rent movies from Blockbuster than go the theater, they’ll make pizza at home rather than go out to the restaurant, and they’ll work to shift any money they can to paying the bills and staying afloat.  There are some times of entertainment that do continue to prosper.  Below are those considered recession-resistant.


Products and Services


* Gambling

* Bowling

* Soft-ball leagues and the like




Call it habit forming but the gaming industry performs relatively well compared to other businesses in entertainment industry.  Direct mail marketers should consider self-reported survey driven data that identifies various types of gambles.  Casino resorts can also use their internal customer mailing list to profile. 


Profiling their customer mailing list allows the direct mail marketer to better understand what their existing customers look like, and to also find new “like” customers.  Direct mail piece versioning is very useful with casino resorts as they typically offer so much more than just slot machines and table gaming.  Direct mail marketers should consider mailing lists that identify travelers who might fit the profile of other products and services the resort offers… then lure them into the casino floor. Bowling and softball are an example of inexpensive outdoor activities that many participate during hard times.  They are the type of business that continues on whether the economy is booming or busting.


Peace of Mind


During recessionary times, many people are desperate and some take risks to make ends meet.  During these times, a few people buy hand guns, suffer from road rage, drink more, and pick-up drug habits.  The rest of us worry about these dangerous few, install home security, add pad-locks, and keep a watchful eye on the neighbors.  Peace of mind is a rare commodity, but if it can be bought, there are more buyers during recessionary times.


Products and Services


* Home security services

* Pawnshops




There seems to be a direct correlation with recession and crime.  When the market goes down, the crime rate goes up.  Home security service providers like ADT see spikes in new business in neighborhoods with reported burglaries. Consider building a mailing list of homeowners in your market territory that fit the income potential required for this service. 


Also consider targeting single women, single mothers, young families, and the elderly.  Version your message appropriately for each of these target groups to increase your response rates.


Real Estate and Mortgage Choices


Products and Services


* Credit repair companies




Though the current lending industry is a mess, for those who’ve maintained good credit, credit options are available and usually needed.  The rates are expected to continue to decline leading to ideal refinance options for those who qualify. 


Direct mail is a great way to reach this audience because the property mortgage mailing list pinpoints the ideal audience so carefully.  Whether you want to help someone refinance their mortgage or buy investment homes, there’s a mailing list available for you.  Looking to help people repair their credit?  Using direct mail reaches these people because it’s a private matter and direct mail satisfies the sensitivity issue. Talk with your mailing list broker about some of the mailing lists available for this audience.


The Dollar vs. the Euro


Products and Services


* American made goods and services sold

* Stateside travel destination catering to Canada and Europe




When the value of the U.S. dollar goes down, the value of other county currency goes up.  This does two things to the buying power of our U.S. dollar.  First, it makes the cost of imports to America go up, and second it makes the cost of American goods sold overseas go down.  So your businesses that cater to overseas buyers, such as Disney World in Orlando looking for European travelers, make an attractive offer.  For responsive individual’s sensitive products “Made in America”, direct mail marketers should consider mailing to a mailing list of Republican voters who are generally more aware of and troubled by those products manufactured overseas. 


International mailing lists are also available to reach vacation travelers that may want to take advantage of a more cost effective American destination.


Ultra-Affluent Direct Mail Marketing




For most consumers, disposable income disappears in a recession.  But for the ultra-affluent, a recession is a great time to get out of and spend some of that extra money.  Chances are their disposable income buys them more than it ever did.  For the ultra-rich, an economic down turn doesn’t affect their ability to live the best life money can buy. Consider targeting the ultra-affluent by using direct mail to reach this incredibly wealthy audience. 


Available to the direct mail marketer is a mailing list of millionaires, multi-millionaires, and billionaires. 


This mailing list is very niche but consider that they’re used to being wined and dined at every turn so to grab their attention, your direct mail piece must be extremely high end.  To truly reach those who truly enjoy the best life money can buy; your direct mail piece must be more like a media kit than a post card.  This audience doesn’t respond to savings but is ever searching for the ultimate new sensation that they’ve not experienced before.