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To print, or not to print … or just send an email

This is another BIG topic for the creative services and print industry. Will we continue to print stuff? Or is everything going to be as easy as, just sending an email? I think everyone agrees, print won’t go away for go0d, but the internet has opened up a whole new world of communication and direct marketing opportunities – but are they effective?

If you’re like me, you’re connected online. We research and shop online, we’re on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Yelp, Digg and all the rest. And along with that online lifestyle comes 300+ emails a day. And do any of those, highly targeted, direct marketing messages get through to me? Some may, but most do not.

Many of us living an online lifestyle get bombarded with thousands of sales messages per day, far more than we ever see in the real world, and this makes it harder to cut through the clutter – harder to get through to our audience. According to HubSpot, Email open rates are down overall. Email messages, no matter how great your subject line is, have a VERY SHORT time to get noticed. Your email could be blocked by the internet service provider or the network firewall, and never make it to the inbox. And once on the computer, it has to get past the spam filter where it may get flagged as junk mail. And if all goes well up to this point, you land in the inbox, along with 299 other email messages for the day.

Email Open Rates are Declining

Email Open Rates are Declining

Here is where I argue that now your chances of making a direct connection with anyone is SLIM with a 300 to 1 chance of even getting noticed (based on my simplified example.) Even emails I’ve requested be sent to me, I rarely have time to read – and we typically take only a fraction of a second to decide to delete email or keep it in the inbox, still with no guaratee of ever being read.

So, is it as easy as just sending an email?

Harvey Hirsch,  President of Media Consultants, writes a nice piece explaining more about this very topic: Print’s Dirty Little Secret

Most creative decision makers have spent most of their careers practicing the mass-communications techniques established in the 60’s. You know, hit as many eyes for the lowest CPM and run an average.

This one-size-fits-all approach to marketing is so antiquated, so primitive, and generally so ineffective when you add it up. Where is the multi-channel strategy?

Americans are assaulted over 4,000 times a day by media messages and cutting through that clutter is hard to do. And my first choice is always a 3-Dimensional, personalized and printed, full-color, emotionally charged, hand-assembled mailer, followed by a well-trained telemarketing person who sets up a live person-to-person 1:1 meeting. This is true multi-channel marketing.

Its important to remember what most communications are trying to accomplish to begin with. That is making a connection, weather advertising, marketing or direct – its the personal CONNECTION that we’re trying to achieve (and all of the things that come along with it like, leads, response and sales.) And I keep saying the same rules still apply. Get the right offer to the right person at the right time -using the right medium, and you’ll have a better chance at making a connection. Highly targeted, multi-channel programs are still performing well for many and should be considered.

Or, just send another email … after all, its cheaper.

1 Comment:
Bill Heaton says:

I filter out so much email and choose more often to selectively tune-in to messaging that I choose to follow (just like twitter). If the messenger (marketing guru) gets spammy, or seems irrelevant I just block ’em; or tune-off. Seth Godin’s concept of permission based marketing just makes sense for gathering an audience. Whether the message is in print or electronic, if you have the recipient’s permission, they are very likely to tune-in to your message.

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