Skip to Main Content

Marketing Tips - Issue 44

Pure Play Sees Value of Direct Mail


Jan 25, 2010 4:42 PM, By Tim Parry – MultiChannel Merchant has been an online seller of action sports equipment since president Jim Bartlett founded the company in November 2005. But if the ROI on its two holiday season postcard mailing campaigns are as good as he thinks,


Bartlett says he may go multichannel. Bartlett says he can see spikes in site traffic activity, online orders and phone orders around the time the company dropped the two mailings. But at press time he was waiting for matchback results from consultant J. Schmid and Associates before determining if they were a success. Both drops went to house file names, and crossed over buyer segments including seasonality and average order size.


The names, segmented by recency, went to buyers who made two purchases within the past six months. In all, postcards went out to about one-third of's 33,000 names.


The first drop was mailed to 5,000 customers just before Thanksgiving, and offered 10% off a purchase of $50 or more with an expiration of Nov. 30. The second postcard went to 10,000 customers on Dec. 10, with a message that orders placed by Dec. 23 would arrive by Christmas.


"I can see from our analytics that the traffic to our site grew right after the postcards dropped, and that was our goal," Bartlett says. "Our early indication is that the ROI was positive."


If that is the verdict, Bartlett says the next step could be a test of slim-jim catalog or a pamphlet-size mailer, something that would show the diversity of action sports the company offers protective equipment for.


"My approach has been to just send e-mails to my house file, and we've done that forever," Bartlett said. "Mailing postcards is more expensive, but if we achieved a positive ROI, maybe we can do a test mailing of a more robust catalog." experimented in-house during holiday 2008 with two postcard drops of 2,000 each, and Bartlett said it was "not for a compelling offer." But based on response and orders, Bartlett says he sought out J. Schmid.


Verified Facts


-The largest percentage of Gen X and Gen Y consumers responded to Direct Mail that features offers such as coupons, percent-off discounts, or other incentives (Vertis).


- Gen X and Gen Y may be the most wired, but they still prefer to receive promotional messages through mail than any other media channel (Exact Target).


- Hispanics, the largest minority group in the US - and the fastest-growing, use Direct Mail over other types of media to learn about new products (DMA).


- Direct Mail is consumers' top preference for receiving promotional messages from companies which they have never interacted (Exact Target).


B2B Mailing Lists


Often in B2B mailings the available universe of prospects is relatively small.    When you are purchasing an outside list, don't be concerned if the cost per record is high.    It is far better to reduce your expensive prospecting efforts to the most likely candidates.  


Attempting to minimize your cost per thousand by expanding your reach into low potential categories is counter-productive.   


In B2B, a well-targeted list is compensated with reduced selling costs, and higher average orders.


Marketing Tips posts authored by Leslie Goldstein of the USPS.