Direct Marketing ~ Email VS Direct Mail

Direct Marketing is a crucial component of any lead generation program and should be part of your strategic marketing plan.  In 2012, B-to-B companies are continuing to include direct marketing in their marketing mix, but are focusing their efforts on email campaigns.  Why are they choosing email vs direct mail…there is one simple reason!  MONEY….Yes….it’s cheaper to run an email campaign verse a direct mail campaign…but which is one is giving back a greater ROI?

Marketing PlanAs a marketing consultant, I recommend to my clients not to put their eggs all in one basket and only rely on email campaigns only. To be successful, it’s important to utilize each slice of the direct marketing pie effectively.  My belief is that email marketing should be about retention and focus on your customers only, while direct mail should be used strictly for prospecting.

Here are the problems I have seen with email campaigns over the years:

  1. Noise & Clutter – Just too many emails in our inboxes – On a daily basis, I receive around 40-50 promotional emails from businesses.   I receive more promotional emails than actual work emails from my colleagues.  There is “Noise” and “Clutter” in our inbox that has caused us to stop paying attention to our emails and simply ignoring it.
  2. Lower Response Rates– Due to the clutter discussed above, response rates have dropped under 1% for email campaigns where a few years ago we saw response rates above 2%.
  3. Open Rates Have Dropped Due To Junk Emails– We just hit delete or watch emails fly into our junk folder and rarely hit open.  This is happening more and more….Our open rates have dropped from an average of 14%-20% to 5%-10% over the past few years.

The good news is that whether you are utilizing email or direct mail…..there are a few concepts that holds true for both:

1.   What is your offer

2.  How relevant is that offer to the audience you want to target

3.  Timing of your campaign

4.  What action are you asking your audience to perform?

The items above can help you increase the success of your email campaigns…but the true success will be when companies start focusing email campaigns on their customers only. This will increase the response rates because a person is more likely to open the email if they are a customer.

Why Direct Mail?

An example of direct mail used by political ca...

Image via Wikipedia

Yes…Direct mail marketing tends to be a costly and time consuming campaign to implement, costs can range from a $1 a piece to $5 a piece.  Designing, printing and mailing the campaign can take a number of weeks and usually involves a third party mailhouse.  However, direct mail is great for sending promotional items and delivering them right into the hands of your prospect. Unlike email marketing which is constrained by available space and layout, direct mail marketing can be colorful, attention grabbing and use as much space as you need to get your message across.  The campaign has longevity and can make an impact for a long time.

At the end of the day, each business needs to figure out what direct marketing mix works best for them.  Remember…..cheaper is not always better or the right way to reach your customer base.


Monique Merhige is the President of Infusion Direct Marketing & Advertising, Inc.  She has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola.  Infusion is a marketing consulting firm that specializes in the security industry and delivers marketing solutions that include Public Relations, Direct Marketing, Branding, Collateral Development, and Social Media Marketing.  Visit: or call 631-846-1558


INBOUND MARKETING: How to Get Customers Without Really Trying

Inbound Boomer and friends reading the book, Inbound Marketing

Reading 'Inbound Marketing' @ Phil Jacobs

What is Inbound Marketing?
By now, most people who have anything to do with marketing their businesses have heard of Inbound Marketing (or at least social media). For those who are unfamiliar with the term, I will answer the following question, ‘What is Inbound Marketing and how does it differ from traditional or Outbound Marketing?’

When I first heard the term, Inbound Marketing, and began to read and research everything I could about it, I heard many amusing and educational stories. The first story was the graphic means used by Hubspot, the company that became synonymous with the term, to illustrate the difference between the newer ‘Inbound’ versus the traditional ‘Outbound’ marketing.

HUBSPOT: The Home of Inbound Marketing
The folks at Hubspot are very creative. The company, formed by two students who met at the Sloan School of Management at MIT, coined the term, Inbound Marketing. They, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, then formed the company Hubspot. They hired some very talented and energetic people. They must have given them free-range to express their ideas because some of them are quite amazing. At time, they come out with very creative and amusing promotional materials.

Anyway, in the early days, as they like to say, the graphic explanation for the difference between, the traditional, intrusion or Outbound and the newer, attraction or Inbound Marketing was like the difference between getting customers/clients by hammering them over the head to convince them they needed what you were selling or attracting them like metal to a magnet to find exactly what they were seeking to purchase which was exactly what you were promoting to sell, a marriage made in Inbound Marketing heaven.

The Inbound Marketing Machine: Step One
The whole idea was and still is to create a marketing machine or wheel. Why reinvent it, right? A website is its HUB and the various types of social media, a blog, videos and other technology are the spokes. When spinning properly, the machine attracts leads and then, like a funnel or a vacuum cleaner, attracts or sucks them down to the next level.

This is how it works. First, visitors are lured in by something of value for ALMOST nothing. The only ‘something’ required is their name and e-mail address. Aha, once a company has this information, the prospective client is theirs, unless this lead unsubscribe from future e-mail contact. But if a company provides products and services of continued value by speaking to the needs or ‘pain’ of a consumer, the prospective client is likely to stick around and at some point make a purchase.

The Inbound Marketing Machine: Step Two
The second step, after value has been proven without a charge, is to attract and syphon the prospect down through the leads funnel to the products or services that are fee based. If the value is irresistible, then there is the likelihood that the prospect will become a loyal customer, and possibly an affiliate or even a partner. But we will leave that topic for another blog post.

It’s as simple as that. It’s how to get customer without really trying. Do you believe it? Then as the saying goes, ‘I have a bridge to sell you’. Don’t misunderstand me, I think the mechanism is brilliant and I believe in Inbound Marketing totally, at least in theory. But in the two to three years that I have known of the term, I personally am still working on getting all the pieces together, to first build my wheel so that my Inbound Marketing machine will turn ‘effortlessly’.

The Inbound Marketing Machine: Step Three
Do I discourage others from believing in this system and building their wheel? Absolutely not! I am a true believer. It is just that it takes time and resources to build this wheel. It included, the hub, or website (which is never quite right), the spokes or a solid, reputable social media presence on facebook, twitter and LinkedIn. In addition, one must have a frequently posted blog, continually uploaded videos, a regular eNewsletter, and whatever else I may have forgotten to mention from the ‘must have’ list.

But once it is all in place, the Inbound Marketing machine can work like a fine timepiece. At least that is what I have been told repeatedly and have been aiming towards. But I am still in the process. I have all the parts and will let you know when my machine is all together and functioning seamlessly. Perhaps, I won’t have to let you know. You will just be attracted to it.

The Inbound Boomer Family

The Inbound Boomer Family @ Phil Jacobs

Does The Inbound Marketing Machine Work?
In the meantime, those of you who have gotten your Inbound Marketing machine working like a charm will have to let my readers and me know if I am headed in the right direction. Your encouragement and comments are requested.


Alison Gilbert is a Digital Age Storyteller and photojournalist. She is a regular contributing author to DBME, writes The Marketing Byte Blog and is The New York Graphic Design Examiner. Alison is the owner of MARKETING BYTES Solutions 4 Local Biz. She has been a marketing pro and entrepreneur for over three decades. Her company specializes in local/small and start up businesses with a boutique (very personal style) approach to client service.

The MARKETING BYTES ProTeam consists of experienced marketing, design, technology and writing professionals offering the latest online Inbound Marketing technology, social media, graphic and web design, illustration, photo and video, content management as well as the best of traditional advertising. Her client base has covered just about every commercial industry.

Although located on Long Island, NY, MARKETING BYTES serves clients everywhere there is Internet access. To learn more, visit our site, Marketing Bytes, our local biz facebook page, Marketing Main Street USA, and join our local biz facebook group, Local Biz Is The Solution.

To contact us: e-mail or call 516-665-9034 (EST, NY, USA).


Brand Development


Those of us who have been fortunate enough to become authors for the Digital Brand Marketing Education Blog know intimately the four pillars that comprise the edifice of the DBME blog. We know their interrelatedness, their synergy and we continually learn more as the skyrocketing technology raises the roof on the other three pillars.

The charrette apple with white helvetica type and the white compass

Charrette Took on the 'Big Apple' Design Scene @ Charrette Corporation


A piece of writing can illustrate the interrelatedness between digital technology, branding, marketing and their value as educational tools if seamlessly crafted by a seasoned professional. Basil Puglisi, the founder of DBMEi, expertly summarizes the process, in less a minute, in the above video.

This blog post, Brand Development, will focus primarily on two of the pillars, branding and marketing. Ironically, the emphasis on digital technology is antithetical because the story is about a company that primarily pre-dates the transition from the analog to digital world. Nonetheless, this exploration of branding is a study worth anyone’s attention, those who are ensconced in the digital world and those who know nothing about it.


The charrette 1969 catalog

The Charrette 1969 Catalog @ Charrette Corporation

A brand ultimately needs to become that ‘entity’ by which a company or organization is known and recognized. It can be comprised of visual, verbal, audial and other sensory components. It can start out simple and grow to become more complex. It can start out complex and be simplified. It can also start simple and stay simple, start complex and stay complex. In my opinion, one way is not superior to any other. All that matters is that the end result works.


My favorite pre-digital brand is an extraordinary example of simple stays simple. And it did work. For our present day digital technology purposes, there is much to observe and learn from this masterful example. This brand was for a company that existed in the last quarter of the 20th century. It business and products were predominantly pre-digital. The shift to digital did not represent the true spirit of the company or its brand.

charrette bag, stickers etc all showing the brand

The Proof Is In The Brand @ Johanna Bohoy for Charrette Corp.


The basic element was a single color, red. It then grew to include one word of type, charrette. The style was Helvetica and the color was white. The Charrette Corporation was the largest distributor and retailer of design tools in the industries of architecture, graphics, landscaping, interiors, engineering and fashion during its time. Its reach was from New England, south on the East Coast, and west into the Heartland.

The primary source of income from the corporation was the commercial side accounts. The commercial accounts included even various branches of the US government. But the retail side was where Charrette really showed what its brand was made of. The retail side consisted of such an exclusive group of famous clientele, designer, actors, writers, etc. that this ‘sought after’ list is still safely guarded and unpublished to keep the anonymity of this extraordinary group of customers.

The charrette van

The Charrette Van @ Charrette Corporation


The brand was so powerful that even when some of the elements were changes over its decades of existence, the integrity was always maintained. One could identify a Charrette store, vehicle, product, and packaging. The impeccable job creating and permeating their brand which embodied an attention to detail and clean, simple lines  reflected its corporate culture and philosophy, spilled over into its marketing and its very soul. This was so well done that I believe customers (myself included) would buy their products not only because of their superior quality but also to own a piece of that brand and to be a part of that amazing culture, its spirit and soul.


The Charrette Corporation is gone in body but the memories and memorabilia of this brand live on. Charrette was easily able to do extraordinary marketing because of the impeccable attention to detail both in their products and the branding of everything they produced.

The charrette building now

A deserted Charrette building now @ Charrette Corporation

The Charrette culture, their religious approach to quality and attention to detail live on as an extraordinary lesson for all of us who have an interest in brand development and marketing. Digital technology can spread the words (and images) faster than we ever could before. Charrette did not have that advantage. But what they had was something remarkable to share. For the time that Charrette was at the top of its game, it did a job that set the standard for many other industries that I believe has not been surpassed today.


A Fond Farewell to the Charrette Corporation

Brand Development

Finding Your Brand Voice

Tips to Cut Your Trade Show Booth Spending in 2012

A trade show is a great way for a company to increase exposure and increase brand presence…but there’s typically a huge investment required.  In 2012, companies arecontinuing to exhibit at major shows….. but are on limited budgets.  There are many ways for a company to reduce the exorbitant costs and still make an impact at the show.

As a marketing consultant, my job is to listen to clients’ needs and make recommendations to help them achieve their goals within the marketing budget.   Trade shows continue to be an important part of the marketing mix and should not be ignored.  Companies should continue to exhibit at major industry specific shows…but follow the tips below to reduce the overall cost of exhibiting.

Tips to Cut Your Trade Show Booth Spending :

  1. Booth Sharing – This concept has become popular in 2011 and continues in 2012.  A company can share booth space with a non-competitive company and split the booth costs. This can cut costs by 50%.  Each company can work their side of the booth and be responsible for graphics and product demos.  If you are the type of company that does not want to share your exhibit space…read on for further cost saving tips!
  2. Reduce the Size of Your BoothSpace– A great way to reduce your costs is to reduce the size of your booth.  Is it really necessary to have a 10 x 20 booth or larger just to impress your competitors? You can still have a successful show and be in a 10 x 10 booth.  In addition, to saving thousands on the booth cost, this option eliminates the need for additional booth staff…..which in return cuts your travel expenses.
  3. Consider Second Hand Displays– If you can’t afford a brand new top of the line booth, another option would be to purchase a refurbished second hand display.  Of course, you would need to pay for the graphics…but you would save on the booth printing costs.
  4. Use Lightweight Trade Show Exhibits  – You can reduce shipping costs by using lightweight materials to ship. Pop up displays are an excellent option because they are extremely lightweight and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. If there are items that don’t need to be shipped and can be carried by you to the event, then that will also be cost efficient for you.
  5. Keep Your Booth Paperless – Do not print and bring company brochures.  Instead bring a laptop and show a presentation at your booth.  Only send brochures to qualified leads as a follow-up after the show.

The good news is that trade show booth traffic continues to increase in the new year.  Companies are seeing a return on investment and understand the value of not missing out on the major industry events.  Exhibiting at trade shows is a HOT item in 2012.  Hopefully, these tips will allow companies to continue exhibiting at the major events and not be left out in the cold!


Monique Merhige is the President of Infusion Direct Marketing & Advertising, Inc.  She has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola.  Infusion is a marketing consulting firm that specializes in the security industry and delivers marketing solutions that include Public Relations, Direct Marketing, Branding, Collateral Development, and Social Media Marketing.  Visit: or call 631-846-1558


3 Tips to Synchronize Online and Traditional Marketing

As much as the online community loves to promote the effectiveness of a well-designed online strategy, it’s impossible to deny that
traditional media can be hugely effective. What get’s lost in much of the debate about online vs traditional marketing, though, is how
incredibly powerful they can be when used in tandem. Here are three ways to make it happen.

1. Play Ping Pong

English: Infographic on how Social Media are b...In The Thank You Economy, Gary Vaynerchuk explains how playing a game of ping pong between social and traditional media can launch customer
engagement through the roof.

In the book, he argues that simply including the URL of a Facebook page at the end of a TV commercial doesn’t go nearly far enough. Instead, the commercial should include a genuine call to action that encourages viewers to find out what’s happening online.

Once the users visit the social media page, they should find not an advertisement, but a genuine community of like-minded people. All the energy and excitement surrounding the community can then be harnessed and channeled. It can be used to spark new ideas that can make their way back into traditional media.

When a meme makes the leap from an online community to traditional media, the people who were involved in the creation of that meme will feel vindicated. This further improves the engagement and keeps the community coming back for more.

In the book, Vaynerchuk applauded the success of an Old Spice campaign that, in many ways, accomplished just that. The character from the  commercials was placed into the social media realm, where he interacted directly with the audience. Taking things a step further, he responded to requests from the audience by recording new videos that incorporated their ideas. This resulted in an incredibly successful campaign.

But Vaynerchuk also had some harsh words for Old Spice, because they failed to keep the game going. They eventually stopped engaging with
their audience, treating the social media phenomenon as though it were a TV advertising campaign that could just end without so much as a
farewell. He feels that the campaign should have been used to develop lifetime customer value that would have kept customers coming back for
more for the foreseeable future.

2. There’s More to Social Than Marketing

Chris Brogan is one of the most widely respected voices on social media marketing, so it’s no small thing when he says that social media is about more than marketing. One of the most important changes that social media has brought about is the ability of the customer to talk about you.

What does this have to do with incorporating traditional marketing? Consider the value of actually understanding your audience. In 1998, marketers were willing to pay between four and five thousand dollars to conduct a focus group consisting of less than ten people for two hours.If people were willing to spend this much for two hours with ten potential customers to figure out how they thought and what made them tick, imagine how much they would have paid to have access to a never-ending conversation with thousands of potential customers.

The amount of data available at your fingertips is staggering if you are just willing to listen. Insights gleamed from relationships that were founded by social media can be an incredible source of traditional marketing ideas. Taking the time to really understand your audience and how they think will dramatically improve the impact of your traditional marketing efforts.

Building relationships using social media can also help expand your influence. A phone call only takes place between two people, but social media allows you to have a conversation of comparable intimacy with hundreds or thousands of people at the same time. Do not underestimate the power of influential relationships. They have always been the backbone of a strong business, and the intensity of this has only been magnified by the power of the internet..

3. Reach Critical MassThe social media or the management of social n...

The most important thing that social media has to offer is right in the name: social. It’s about the conversation. It’s that conversation that keeps users coming back, gets the word out, and makes things happen.

A conversation, by definition, demands more than one person. Most people are hesitant to start or join a conversation unless one has already been started. As the old saying goes, nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd.

This is where traditional media can be immensely powerful. By sending enough people your way, you can reach the critical mass necessary to get a conversation started. This can be accomplished without traditional marketing, but it’s often much easier to reach this point using something like traditional advertising.

Social and traditional media can amplify each other in ways that weren’t possible before. By keenly understanding the difference between the two media, it’s possible to reach a wide audience, listen to what they have to say, and appeal to them in new and powerful ways.


Kathy S. is a freelance writer and car insurance expert. She lives with her husband in Georgia where they enjoy weight training and comparing car insurance together.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 50 other followers

%d bloggers like this: