new media doesn't always winI met with a client today to build a direct mail piece.
Normally I would feel nauseous at the thought of an intrusive mailer sent randomly; but in this case I didn't flinch. Before you jump to conclusions and call me a marketing whore, I should inform you: the job is pro-bono. The fact is, direct mail was simply the best option for the client, his business and potential for ROI.
We considered newspaper advertising, even with special publications. The mailer came in at way cheaper, considering it can be made much more area-specific. We've implemented web-based initiatives, but they can't measure up to a mailer in terms of potential response. So, a mailer it is.
Those who know me have already guessed who the "client" in question is. For him, it's important to market to people at their homes, where he wants to do business. He's staying proactive in an abnormally slow time for the Vancouver real estate market, and the message is extremely soft-sell. Just a thank-you note for a good year in 2005 and reminder of who they can call if they have questions about buying or selling.
It is also how he is introducing a new level of service to his customers, with some of the new ideas we've been throwing around. (Ideas so good I'm still not sure I want to share them here) Essentially, he wants all of the right neighborhoods to know that when it comes to customer service, he's the best around.
Important note: the mailer is a form of marketing, yes. But we started at the most important stage of marketing: Being unique, excellent. Giving people good reasons to tell ten friends. Without leaking too much, the plan is to give new customers (new listings) a few small, affordable and carefully chosen gifts to help them (together) sell the house. New buyers will receive a clever gift too (he's not alone in this category, but he intends to be better than the rest). In the hustle-and-bustle world of real estate, it won't be too difficult for him to be an absolute stand-out. The bar is set pretty low; everyone's busy and not taking the time to care.
Sometimes, you have to be the first one to start telling the story. Just make sure it's a good story, one that others will want to hear. If it's a good enough story, people will start to tell it for you.