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Eight year olds playing football!


By Giles Longhurst, General Manager, Consumer Insight

December 14, 2011 | 2 min read

Direct mail is not dead! A statement that might seem strange; especially when you consider the title of my blog. How on earth can it explain that there is life still left in direct mail? So here we go, bear with me.

If you have ever seen eight year olds playing football then, like me, you’ll know that the ball is like a magnet. Every youngster on the pitch is within a 10ft radius of it, in effect a sea of legs and arms with no more than a hair’s width between them. It’s natural; they all want a piece of the action don’t they?

Now move in to the marketing world and imagine the ball is the shiny new digital channel - the new hot way of communicating with customers. Yes, there is a need for some of the players to be in or near this channel, otherwise the game would go nowhere. But has this left space wide open for those able to sit back and reflect a little on where to make their next play?

I’ve worked with a few clients recently on DM campaigns, in some cases the first for a while. Without exception they have repeated the activity within three months, something no one would do if it had not provided the results they were after. So, while digital is now a critical part of marketing campaigns, there’s still space for Direct Mail, a channel that may have struggled in the past owing to the sheer weight of paper landing on the doormat.

Rather like an older and wiser football team, you realise there is space for all on the pitch; everyone has a role, if you like call it multi-channel marketing. So the next time you watch those eight year olds playing football, imagine the ball as the shiny new channel and ask yourself who is the wisest kid on the block? One of the 20-strong scrum or one of the lone children waiting on the goal line?


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