One Year In...
I received my “1 Year of Service” pendent from L & D Mail Masters on Tuesday. What a difference one year can make! Like many, one year and one month ago, I thought direct mail was dead. My less mature self, figured e-mail and digital marketing were the way of the new world. Oh, what I’ve learned in just twelve short months. I did not know anything about the mail world when I took the job at L & D Mail Masters, but lack of knowledge has never stopped me before. (As a journalist, researching is the key to a successful career!) So, here I was a stranger to the direct mail world ready to find out how snail mail remains relevant. Here are the top 5 lessons I learned in my first year as a Social Media Content Creator in the direct mail marketing industry:
1. Direct mail is very much alive. I went to a tradeshow just about a month ago and as we were setting up our booth we got the infamous question, “Do people still send mail?” Yes, lady, they do! And, it’s more powerful now than ever. In fact, 98% of Americans still go to their mailboxes daily and unlike e-mail, you cannot control what appears in your mailbox. Multi-platform campaigns are the present and the future, so direct mail isn’t going anywhere…ever. They are just advancing it. Did you hear they are running pilot programs to let residents know what’s in their mailbox before they even get home? It’s happening!
2. Those machines are magic. During the first couple of months of me working for L & D Mail Masters, stepping onto the production floor was like stepping off of a plane in Bangkok. Everything was so foreign. I’d go on tours with guests, and still failed to grasp what every machine did. There’s the Screen Printer and the Pitney Bowes Inserter and the Pitney Bowes Bar-coder and more. With L & D Mail Masters’ adopted system—MRDF or “Mail Run Data File”—each station works together to guarantee accuracy and efficiency. The screen printer prints a barcode on each mail piece and that barcode is read at the inserter to ensure the proper piece of mail is inserted into the correct personalized envelope. After that, the bar-coder separates each piece of mail by zip code to eliminate one extra process by the United State Postal Service. And that is just one of L & D Mail Masters’ processes. These machines perform magic!
3. We can do everything. If I was going to represent the company at tradeshows, I had to know more. What I found was more than I bargained for. We can do everything! I knew we printed healthcare documents, tax statements, designed and printed marketing campaigns, offered branded promotional products, but I did not realize the power of our internal data. The ability we have to follow a client’s return on investment (ROI) is rich. We also protect that data with our Soc 2 Type II certification. (That’s another term I have never in a million years heard of!) Did I mention we have a web fulfillment center? There hasn’t been a day go by this past year when I did not learn something new about the direct mail industry and the services that go into every piece of direct mail.
4. B2B Marketing is much different than B2C Marketing. I worked at Kate Spade during the holiday season two years ago and was encouraged to share promos with our social media audience. That was easy. My friends are similar to me and quite frankly, I know what to say to spark their interest. As a reporter, the situation is similar. People followed my personal pages because they were interested in my breaking news. They sought me out. The same cannot be said for B2B marketing. It has been a rocky road, getting my feet wet in this new world. What do I say? The greatest lesson here is the power of SEO (search engine optimization). If they’re searching a term, you want to be one of the top results.
5. You’ll wear more hats than one. So, I came on to the team as a Social Media Content Creator, but I do much more than create content. In this industry, you must be prepared to hand-insert envelopes if called upon, to delegate duties in a bid, and to help plan events. All of which have kept me excited to work each day. Sounds cliché. But, honestly, who wants to do the same thing every day?
I wasn’t sure where I landed on May 2, 2016. “L & D Mail Masters,” “direct mail marketing,” what is that? I’ve got a good grasp of it all now. The biggest take away is that social media paired with direct mail is powerful and if your business isn’t equipped, let us help you get there. Now, here’s to another year in the direct mail industry!