We just finished a marketing campaign for one of our clients and the result was the lesson learned that even though we are marketing specialists, our client’s have valuable insight and experience that we should draw upon.
The campaign utilized the PURL (personal URL) technology, which allows the direct mail recipient to log on to their personalized micro-website (usually to register for a prize drawing), confirm contact information, answer a few questions and receive an automatically triggered email “thank you”. The sole purpose for PURL campaigns is to automatically gather data that can be used to more relevantly target recipients in the future.
For this campaign, the client insisted that the recipients also be permitted to respond via Business Reply Mail (BRM). We strongly advised against doing that for several reasons:
- The beauty of a personal URL campaign is the automated data collection incorporated into the campaign URL.
- BRM as a response vehicle is not new technology and combining it with a PURL, which is new technology, made no sense.
- Manual data entry would be required to enter the BRM response information into the data program.
- Increased postage costs due to the BRM.
The client informed us that he had run previous campaigns and always incorporated BRM because of the past response results he had received. So, we executed the campaign according to his direction and are now busily eating crow!
What we found was that there were almost equal response rates – 50% PURL and 50% BRM. We certain did not expect that result. We felt the PURL response rate would have been significantly higher that what the BRM would drive. So, not only is direct mail alive and well, but the use of Business Reply Mail should also be considered for any marketing campaign you are planning.
We preach that a multi-channel campaign is always more effective than a single channel campaign because people prefer to be contacted in a variety of ways. The success of the BRM also shows that recipients want to RESPOND in a variety of ways. So, give them as many choices as possible – email, PURL, BRM, telephone and so on. Don’t limit your thinking and don’t limit your channels for marketing touch OR marketing response.