Marketing is so expensive
Communicating with your target base: efficiently and effectively
A simple direct mailer, A4 size folded 3-fold. 4 colour offset, did you say and on a 170 gsm paper? 5000 pieces. No, wait. Make it 10,000 pieces.
After you have done with the printing and putting the missives into envelopes ready to be mailed; you have spent close to Rs 100,000/- after paying your design agency and print-shop.
Pay another Rs 20,000/- for address- label printing and pasting on the envelopes.
Pay another Rs 40,000/- for stamps.
The letters set forth.
20% never reach their destination (you did not have the right addresses)
30% are trashed by the recipient without even opening the envelope.
The balance are trashed within a minute of their being opened. Well, not quite, but you get the picture.
How often do you do this in a month? In a year?
The move to e-mail
A few years back, we all woke up to the potential of e-mail communication to the database. The economics was certainly attractive.
Design cost was as before; but, delivery was cheap; less than 50p per address. And, no printing cost!
So, a similar excercise as above ended up costing sometimes 1/10 of the paper version; if executed on e-mail. Wow! And, no rainforest depeletion on your conscience.
Also, you started getting those nice “metrics” data; how many of the recipients opened the e-mail, how many clicked on the links you embedded on the mail and so on. Even, how many (and who!) trashed your emails without ever opening them. So, now you know!
If now you know which e-mail addresses “bounced” (mail not delivered), you can work to clean them up. If you know which customers clicked the links on your email, you can build on it by creating a dialog with them by proposing solutions more tuned to their areas of interest. And, if some customers are repeatedly trashing your mail, then it is a signal to you that your communication is not relevant to those customers. Either, you understand the issues and fix them or, you purge those names from future communications.
..but, beware the temptations
All of the above are nice things. But, what if, you start drawing the absolutely wrong conclusions? And, be tempted to take the wrong path?
For instance, “oh, so delivery is cheap. Let’s send 20,000 emails now rather than 10,000. And, piss off 10,000 contacts who are going to resent the intrusion into their already overcrowded mailbox.
The cost of delivery is immaterial; if the message is relevant, if you are convinced the message will resonate with the target audience, by all means send it. If not, don’t. Whether through paper or e-mail. Untargeted spam is ineffective at best and downright offensive and harmful at worst. The cost of ineffective communication far outweighs supposed efficiency gains from paper to e-mail.
Knowing what to say and who to say it to:
The basic tenets of marketing communication: knowing who to talk to and what resonates with them do not change irrespective of the media or indeed the marcom mix employed. Too much effort is wasted in media selection and “how” to deliver the message (read how creatively). In most cases, a simple, uncomplicated message, delivered in simple uncomplicated way, serves the purpose. But, it does not suit the purpose of most marketing agencies to have you send simple, “design-free” communication. So, whether on e-mail or paper, your communication gains in complexity and expensiveness while loses on effectiveness.