The earliest recorded incident of direct mail marketing comes from the year 1,000 B.C., when an Egyptian landowner wrote, on papyrus, an advertisement offering gold for the return of a runaway slave. Sure, direct mail marketing has evolved considerably since then, but many assume that its evolution stopped with the dawn of the Internet. After all, many consider direct mail “snail mail” and question its effectiveness, especially when marketing to Generation Xers and Millennials. I, a digital marketer, was guilty of erring on the side of digital technology and overlooking the advantages of direct mail.
Visit to Genesis Direct
I recently visited with Mike McNally, Senior Account Executive at Genesis Direct, and he changed my perspective entirely! Mike showed me how, through innovation, customization, cutting-edge technology, and company culture, direct mail can be more effective than ever.
Let me give you an example. Imagine that you’re house hunting. You’ve searched online for homes with your desired specifications: recently remodeled or new, $230,000 or less, three bedrooms, large back yard, and fewer than 10 miles from work. The week drags on, your schedule fills up, and the idea of house hunting suddenly seems overwhelming. How will you find the time? Where will you start?
In the mail, you find a brochure featuring 4 homes that have all of the specifications listed above. Next to each house is a map highlighting the routes from each house to your office. All are fewer than 10 miles away! Next to each house is a picture of a deed featuring your name and a home price under $230,000. That’s not all, the brochure has a QR code directing you to a personal website that greets you by name. The site allows you to make appointments to view homes and to sign up to receive weekly emails of house listings that meet your requirements. This house-hunting mission doesn’t seem overwhelming after all, and now, you know where to start!
The company that sent the brochure reached the right person (you), with the right information (a list of houses meeting your specifications), at the right time (right at the beginning of your house hunting experience). This is what Genesis Direct does for clients every day. In doing so, Genesis Direct makes both the consumers’ and the sellers’ jobs easier and less costly in terms of time, money, and resources. How do they do it? Genesis Direct employees work together as a well-oiled machine. They use cutting-edge and top-of-the-line equipment, to usher each project through a process that all starts with big data. Mike McNally explains best how data drives the touch.
Data & Design
The first step is to organize data about clients’ customers to learn as much as possible about them. This data is housed in large servers. The next step is to analyze the data and determine how it can be used to target customers correctly. Once analyzed, the data is used to design mail that meets each individual customer’s information needs and directs each customer to a personalized online experience.
Once the mail is designed, it is produced on state-of-the-art variable data printers. Mail is printed in mass quantity, but each person in a group of thousands receives a different piece of mail individualized for him/her. Mail is then sorted for maximum postal discounts. Then, a U.S. Postal Service employee on site at Genesis Direct processes and clears mail to customers. Having on-site postal service shortens delivery time by one to two days.
The process outlined above reflects the nature of Genesis Direct’s work on individual campaigns. The company also focuses on the bigger picture for its clients by tracking and managing their direct mail campaigns over time. This ensures that the campaigns remain strategically relevant.
Other than its impressive technology and hardware, what makes Genesis Direct unique? McNally answered, “We’re about the people. Our people are our most valuable asset and we recognize that,” McNally explained. “We have talented and driven employees. More than that, they function cohesively. We have marketing people, graphic designers, developers, programmers, printer operators, data experts, and U.S. Postal Service employees all working under one roof. They work very well together.”
McNally also emphasized that Genesis Direct’s company culture also contributes to high employee morale, longevity of service, and the overall company’s success. “We don’t have a stringent hierarchy. Employees can approach us [leadership], pitch an idea, get involved with a project, and make a difference. Employees are empowered here. When they feel free to take initiative, we benefit from it.”
When I asked McNally what he enjoys about working with AMA Tampa Bay, he answered, “It’s nice to help an organization that shares our mission. We’re all marketers, we’re committed to excellence and client service, and we’re glad to help any organization that brings marketers together to build relationships and do great work.” AMA Tampa Bay is fortunate to have Genesis Direct as a sponsor and we benefit tremendously from the company’s one-to-one direct mail services. Genesis Direct is also highly involved in the Bay Area community and supports a number of local charities.
Genesis Direct and the Future
It’s said that successful companies are those that know how to change with the times. Genesis Direct has done just that. The company has taken direct mail, a marketing vehicle that has been around for thousands of years, and used the very latest technology to give it a new life. There is no question that Genesis Direct will continue to adapt, amaze, and succeed!
About the Author
Chiara is Digital Content Creator and Blog Manager for AMA Tampa Bay. She is Co-founder and Director of Winning the Fight, a non-profit organization specializing in neurodegenerative disease research. Chiara is also a freelance digital marketer for small businesses and is finishing up her MBA with a specialty in marketing from the University of South Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Chiara lived in Washington, DC. She earned her BA in International Studies from American University’s School of International Services in 2007 and worked for Booz Allen Hamilton and the Department of Defense thereafter. Her hobbies include obstacle racing, running, swimming, kayaking, SCUBA diving, and opera/classical singing. She also loves country music and chocolate!
Email: Chiara at [email protected]
Social Media: LinkedIn