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Major Brand Sticks with Direct Mail

I’ve yet to find an answer for a marketing question that’s been nagging me for the past couple of years.

Why would any business, banks and credit unions included, cease using the traditional mail channel that delivers proven results in order to climb aboard the yet-to-be-proven social media bandwagon?

At a minimum, you’d think these marketers would stick with what works as an insurance policy while reallocating fewer dollars to testing social media.  Totally abandoning one channel in order to fund a relatively new channel just seems like a bad marketing decision.

I’m sure some readers will respond that their marketing budget is too small to allow them to use multiple channels.  While this may be true, it still doesn’t justify abandoning a channel with a very long track record of proven results.

Normally, when a new marketing opportunity comes along, experienced marketers will make an appeal for additional funding to test the new channel.  Only after a new channel proves itself does it make sense to abandon, or cut-back using, the original channel.

If you need proof that the traditional mail channel still delivers results, look no further than one of America’s most recognizable brands.

Hardly a week goes by that the Topper household doesn’t receive another piece of marketing mail from the folks at GEICO insurance.  You can bet that the marketing folks at GEICO wouldn’t continue sending personalized mail if it wasn’t delivering results.  Here’s the envelope package that arrived last week.

The big, bold, unusual teaser copy on the front of the outer envelope ensures that this piece gets opened and read.  Although I’ve encountered thousands of teaser copy on the fronts of envelopes over the years, I can’t remember teaser copy this intriguing.

Removing the letter from the envelope provided another big surprise – something I’ve never seen before.

The copywriter opens the letter with a customer testimonial in large type.  As you can see above, it consumes the top half of the letter.  This technique almost guarantees the testimonial is read.  After all, our brain tells us this must be very important for it to appear at the beginning of the letter in such large type.

I read every piece of mail sent to me by the folks at GEICO.  They are always testing everything to determine what works best at any given time.  This constant testing tells me that direct mail is still producing good results for the company.

And let’s not forget that Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owns GEICO.  You know that if direct mail wasn’t producing for the insurer, the folks at GEICO would cease using it immediately.

After reading the letter I immediately visited the company’s website to see if it also uses the social media marketing channels.  Sure enough, at the bottom of the homepage I discovered the familiar icons for Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.  In addition, there was a link for the GEICO Blog.  Midway up on the homepage is a link for Gecko Tracker where you can follow the journey of the company’s famous Gecko mascot.

While the smart marketers at GEICO realize the importance of testing the new social media channels, they also understand the necessity of sticking with older, more traditional channels that still deliver results.

Direct mail is one of these channels that is still working for GEICO.  And most likely it will continue delivering new checking account customers for your bank or credit union.

TagsAmerica's most recognizable brandsbad marketing decisionbandwagonbanksBerkshire Hathawaycredit unionscustomer testimonialFacebookGecko TrackerGEICO blogGEICO insuranceinsurance policymarketing budgetmarketing decisionmarketing questionnew checking account customersnew marketing opportunityouter envelopeSocial Mediateaser copytraditional mail channelTwitterWarren BuffettYouTube