Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Command Performance: Direct Mail

By John Blom and Margie Church
Many credit union marketing budgets were slashed or suspended during America's Great Recession. Now, these CUs are fighting to get back in the market, while others are taking advantage of loan opportunities that have been hard to find in the past few years.  
We often hear that direct mail is too expensive and while it certainly can be, as a rule it doesn't have to. Ask yourself, is your credit union's marketing viewed strictly as an expense or is it an investment? In these lean times, take a realistic approach to what you need to accomplish and we'll bet that winning a design award isn't going to be part of your annual objectives. Furthermore, if you're sitting smack-dab in the middle of strong competition, an annual squeak from the cheap seats isn't going to make you the credit union hero either.
So, how can direct mail help solve your problems? Direct mail is the only tool that is going to give you complete access to members and non-members.  Don't believe me? Do you have every member's email address? Have the ability to get the email address of every person within a two-mile radius of every branch? Can a newspaper ad speak personally to every reader who doesn't have an auto loan at your credit union? No, no, and no.
Direct mail can do all of that and much more. As a stand-alone technique, it has the broadest reach. Use it to retain, acquire, and prospect for business within your membership and the communities you serve. Segmenting your data will refine the list to those most likely to respond. In the end, you might produce fewer pieces, but you'll have minimal waste and a higher return on investment.
Electronic gadgets are all the rage, so many credit unions have abandoned tried and true direct mail for trendier tools. We wholeheartedly agree electronic channels are important, lightning-fast ways to reach out, but they aren't effective for prospecting. Direct mail, however, leverages your creative investment and budget, and increases frequency and reach. When combined with email and prospecting techniques such as in-branch materials, newspaper ads, and statement stuffers, you'll have a very powerful campaign that reaches far and wide to reinforce your brand and snaps up those loans.
You might be thinking direct mail is an old school technique, not worth pursuing regardless of cost. Consider this: as traditional mail volume decreases and electronic mail and social media increase, your chances of being noticed and read better than ever. An over-sized postcard is like a mini billboard in the mailbox. The open rates on letters from "your financial institution" are shockingly high.
If you still believe direct mail suffers under the stigma of junk mail, truthfully, you're not using current techniques and should switch marketing partners. Match-mail envelopes, as opposed to window envelopes, are only one way to let the recipient know they need to open this letter. Variable data fields personalize everything to a high level, too. That's only the beginning.
The market for loans has shifted to more solid footing. If you're looking for a way to capture this business, and reacquaint members and non-members with your credit union, direct mail should be your first choice.

Pinpoint Direct Marketing creates data-driven, electronic and print marketing campaigns for the financial industry. Its customized campaigns achieve excellent results without premium costs. Learn more about Pinpoint Direct Marketing at www.PDMKT.com or call Kerry Blom, owner, 866-784-7555.

No comments:

Post a Comment

What's on your mind? We're interested to know.