Bringing Direct Mail In-House?

Patrick McSherry
Hello! I was having a conversation with the Director of Marketing for a Dealer Group the other day and the topic of bringing Direct Mail "In-House" came up. I wanted to see if anyone could share their experiences on the pros/cons they've seen in bringing Direct Mail In-House. All responses are much appreciated. Thanks.
Alexander Lau
Does Direct Mail, even work any more? Day by day, it's dying. Baby boomers area starting to hate it, and the Generations below that, can't stand tangible mail.
Craig Waikem
Alexander, I would argue that direct mail has only got better. We do very well with direct mail, but only variable data pieces, and those printers are EXTREMELY expensive. Can't imagine doing it in house. Plus we rely on our ad agency to come up with the pieces that have worked well for other dealers rather than testing it ourselves and failing. They also offer purchasing the lists if we are not hitting our own database. In addition, one of our most successful advertising is our equity mailer, which outperforms when we email the same offer, and we don't have the ability to do that in-house either.
Alexander Lau
@Craig, cool man, but when I worked at a dealership (BIG ONE; MAJOR MARKET) it performed poorly. I hope you're attacking the elderly, because anyone younger the Generation X could care less about it. Just my two cents.
Patrick McSherry
Thanks for the responses. Alexander - I agree digital is the predominant medium and the obvious growth area for dealer marketing, but I think we can concede direct mail is still viable and evolving as a medium for reaching local car buyers. Technology and data targeting have made it more cost-effective and unique an experience for the consumer. Craig - Agreed the costs are high and budgets definitely need to be managed well. In regards to the in-house element, the dealer was looking to start designing creative in-house with a graphic design artist, collecting targeted conquest and service marketing lists to build their internal database of non-sold or serviced car buyers, and then sending to a direct mail house that gave them the best printing/postage rates. The dealer was running the #'s for cost savings and it looked good, but was worried about the in-house demands for managing the process.
Alexander Lau
Patrick, it's dependent on the power of your CRM and the processes around it, enabling a dealership to understand whom they should be sending to, in the first place. Most have crappy lead lists and waste their money on printing and postal costs. Let's all ask ourselves a question? How much mail do you throw away daily, if it fails to hyper-target your exact interests?

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