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Jared Hamilton
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Earl Brown

Earl Brown President

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So, You Think Direct Mail Is Dead?


I've heard it all over the almost every market. Dealers and Advertisers alike have been trying to tell me for years that Direct Mail marketing was dated, ineffective, and on it's way out the back door... [usually coming from folks who either never tried the medium, or tried quite briefly with a bad result].


With the advent of other popular ad mediums popping up all over the place I can certainly see how one might arrive at that conclusion. It's quite easy to think that because of Social Media, Internet, and Email that direct mail messages are falling on deaf ears. I'm here to say that in fact- quite the opposite is true.


Since 2010 My company (and companies I was a partner in) printed almost 11,000,000 (with an M) Direct Mail Pieces for almost 150 dealers Nationwide. In that time, we have noticed some glaring changes in the results that we were getting for our dealers (in a good way). Our response rates have nearly doubled since 2010, our campaigns are averaging more sold units for higher gross profits and attracting more new market share than ever before.


In 2012 The Direct Marketing Agency rated Direct Mail Marketing as having THE LOWEST CPL Cost-Per-Lead and the HIGHEST conversion rate. 


The point is that Direct Mail never went away, and in my opinion will only become a more important part of Automotive Advertising and outreach than ever before. With a higher conversion rate than virtually any other ad medium, the Print On Demand Institute (PODI) concluded that direct mail consistently out-drew all other marketing channels tested in terms of conversion rates, both for lead-generating “free-by” offers and one-step “buy it now” type offers.


Direct mail’s edge in Automotive Advertising becomes even more pronounced and dramatic when it is optimized with premiums such as Mail Widgets, Variable Data, Variable Image, Personalized Landing Pages, Social Share Elements and many other factors on top of strong ad-copy.


Agree or Disagree overall, you cannot argue that mailboxes are far less cluttered today...and if for NO OTHER REASON ON EARTH...your dealerships CTA and AD-Message have a better chance of being seen by your prospect if you put it in their mailbox as opposed to on their Television, over the Radio Waves, or into an "Email-Blast"



There are a lot of pit-falls and traps that are easy to get caught in for dealers who are using Direct Mail or Staffed Event programs for the first time (namely- logistics). Coordinating a large mail campaign or Staffed Event can be quite daunting to those who've never tried it themselves. It is certainly much easier to plan a T.V. or Radio spot...or to drop a generic full page ad in the weekend edition of your local newspaper...




-Your T.V. Commercial can be Skipped (Automatically, by some providers)

- Newspaper and Magazine are fading to black -People get their news online these days 

- Your opt-in email campaigns might keep your current customers in the loop, but are you gaining market share and growing? or just retaining?


You are likely NEVER going to send out an email that will draw nearly the volume of new 'walk-in' opportunities in a matter of a couple days that a properly managed direct mail campaign can draw. You will never be able to average over $3,000 gross front-end profit on one of your Cars.Com sites...and how many Hot-Leads have you pulled off of your dealerships FaceBook account or Twitter Feed? (if you are like most dealers, not many yet).


Direct mail can be a beautiful addition to ALL of your Online, Social, and Digital Ad Efforts. I believe (and have confirmed through practice) that these 2 advertising mediums only enhance each other. Something to chew on and experiment for yourself with.


-Earl Brown

President, Drive Promotions


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