Create successful Direct Marketing campaigns

Creating an engaging direct mail campaign that delivers results should be a straight forward concept. Engagement many will argue is driven by great creative that is well executed. However others claim that quality customer data is the bedrock of a successful campaign. Logically you might conclude that both the creative and targeting data are equally important.

The 3 Rs of direct marketing

Another way of determining what creates a successful campaign is by using the direct mail concept of the three Rs. This approach is supported by Royal Mail as part of their mailing best practice. They conclude that addressing each of the three Rs is essential for creating an effective direct mail campaign.

RELEVANCE  emotional, creative and pragmatic
RESPECT         inherently acknowledging recipient’s intelligence and taste
REWARD         not necessarily tangible but inherent pleasure of receiving, opening & reading

Royal Mail also claims that any direct mail piece that doesn’t conform to the three R’s is likely to be rejected by the receiver.

So let’s take the concept of relevance and consider it in the process of campaign development, especially in the case of creative output and the management of targeting data. If you task an advertising agency to develop a direct mail campaign their activities will broadly fall into the following areas:

Direct marketing campaign development timings

————-Creative Development
————-Data or media selections
——————————————–Print and Production

This development process hides a potentially large thorn. Anecdotal research on the time spent on each campaign element suggests that relevancy is perceived less important than you might think. Finding and choosing the right target audience, developing great messaging and integrating a well timed campaign seem like reasonable priorities of a campaign.


Time spent—————————————————————————————>


Now I’m not suggesting creative is not important and is not critical to engagement, I am however indicating that there is an imbalance in the development process. In reality the time spent on creative is likely to be the highest out of all the elements.

Time spent—————————————————————————————>


So we may have some pretty amazing creative work coming out of this campaign with clever execution of the theme. But how relevant will it be to the receiving audience and how many relevant people will make up the target list in the first place. Was there enough time spent profiling the customer and creating customer data insights?

Focus on the market data

Now obviously data is less sexy than wowing creative and it won’t necessarily win marketing awards. But without a real focus on getting a great target list together, the first R of the three is going to be dealt a hefty blow. More often than not customer Respect will also be effected as the receiver is left wondering why you are offering them an irrelevant product or service, adding to the perception that ‘junk mail’ is alive and well.

It’s worth considering relevancy the next time you are planning a direct mail campaign and engage an agency to deliver cost effective results. That maintaining focus on the overall relevancy of your campaign output should not take second place to the creative hype. Whether you are using your own data or a commercial list, the real value that comes from direct mail is the one to one relationship you are creating.