Can I Be Direct…? Part I

Mailboxes in Ivy

So…, today I picked up a piece of ‘direct mail’ that was sent to me by the ‘nation’s premier’ advertising magazine. That’s what their website says anyway.


This is a sixteen page, full-color, glossy spread containing the display ads for about thirty or so local businesses… seemly chosen at random.

A sort of micro-yellow page directory… minus any coherent organization.

They claim to know how to reach your customers… and they have a team of ‘skilled graphic designers’ to simplify the design experience for you. It is quite likely that this is thrown in for ‘free’.

Now, before I begin…, let me say that I am a fan of direct mail… done right.

By that, I mean that it is highly targeted to speak to your ideal prospects; that it is personalized…, and shows respect for the customer by making helpful offers, or delivering content, that we are actually interested in.

That said, this publication arrived, quite nicely personalized… addressed to me by my other name: RESIDENT. Now that’s pretty bold seeing I usually reserve that name for my best of friends, but ahhh…, it’s nice to feel that people care.

The thing is, we’ve lived in this home since 1994; how difficult could it be to get a semi-recent mailing list?

But then again, they are the ‘nation’s premier’ provider, so maybe it’s just me. Yes…, maybe it’s just me, and maybe soaking small business marketers to advertise in a publication that is not targeted beyond a zipcode really does have an incredible ROI.

But I don’t think so.

Yet here are five companies on the front cover alone, five companies that ought to know better, paying good money to shout tag lines that are meaningless: “Everyone loves saving”… “Technology is Power”… “Since 1920″…”Exterior Solutions”… and “Gotta go to [company name]”.

Makes you want to jump in the car or jump online and buy something this minute.


Then again, there may be lessons here… and since the recycling’s already done for the week, I’ll look this over tomorrow.



Have you ever found yourself advertising on the spur of the moment, just because it showed up and didn’t seem expensive?



“Everyone” is probably not a good description of your ideal customer.

Stick to a sound marketing plan, budget, and calendar.


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