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Following the spread of the COVID-19, it has been difficult to muster a customer response for all industries. People are staying home, not going out and many communities are preparing for the long haul.

This means that all areas, whether marketing, product or service, that we would consider “experiential” – where the experience matters – are in decline. Instead focus shifts to the individual and the direct. Direct communication, direct contact, individual marketing.

This is where direct mailing, physical and digital, comes into play.

Having your brand in the hand is a powerful way to build loyalty and familiarity both immediately and when “this” is all over. With digital, online and TV marketing dominated by the big players: the front porch, the doorstep, the mailbox is where the smaller businesses can bite back.

Places that find their services and customers diminished by lack of representation in the streets can find access to new markets between the sheets… of paper.

Brands need to recognize the effectiveness of print. It has a different reach, but that’s the beauty of direct marketing. Instead of a scattershot approach where you shoot as widely as possible and hope to hit something worthwhile, now is the time to take the hunter’s approach and make every shot count.

If done successfully, direct mail has the power to stop people wherever they are and devote their attention entirely to your brand. It – your marketing – being physically already inside their home means it’s likely to stay around longer.

It can be tempting in a crisis to pull back on outgoings such as marketing and promotion, but they can solve many issues with a little care.

It can provide comfort and security to know that people still have access to products and services they always had, it can keep your brand front-of-mind for customers when they return and speed the economic recovery on a personal but also national level, and, of course, the best time to market to people is when others are not.

Those that fail to prepare should prepare to fail.

But how do you do it right?

The best direct marketing is personal marketing: by really getting to know your customers, who they are, what their spending habits are, when they shop, what they shop for – you can target your marketing to specific segments of audience to make the most impact.

Don’t just send one big mail-out – send a dozen small ones. Separate your students from your CEO’s, your home-birds from your adventurers, your traditionalists from your pioneers and then market to them directly, where they live. Those that make preparations for return will recover all that more quickly.