Not dead (just yet)

Not dead (just yet)

When a 'journalist' (and I use that word deliberately in inverted commas - after all he obviously didn't get 3 sources in this instance) wrote of the death of Mark Twain, the great wordsmith replied with the priceless "Rumours of my demise have been greatly exaggerated".

Many people have also written of the death of a range of media. Newspapers are dead being the classic (even though many regional papers are not just surviving, they're flourishing). My favourite is mail. Many people think direct mail is dead, and to their credit, some forms of it are (or as good as). Obviously it depends on a range of factors (what your message is, how well you produce the DM piece, and whether you jam it into the box with 15 other DL flyers or choose to go it alone and be different - always my preferred option). But the great dichotomy here is that whilst direct mail might be struggling, mail is still an incredibly powerful channel with which to deliver your message. As always, it's how you do it that counts.

James Flaherty wrote a very flattering piece the other day regarding a thankyou note I sent him. I can't take full credit for this, I was actually inspired by George HW Bush (the semi-smart one, not the other one). Apparently he writes thank you cards to people at the start of every day. Now I'm not that committed (nor do I think I could come up with that many names) but I thought it was a great undertaking. Especially in a world that says gimme gimme all the time, and seldom says thank you. 
So I got some branded cards done and began writing notes. I must say the response has been overwhelming, but that shouldn't really come as a surprise. People say mail is dead, but when most people only get letters with windows on them, actually receiving real, honest to God mail is a rarity. One guy actually told me it's the first handwritten mail he's received since his mother sent him something a decade ago.

So my point? Don't be a sheeple. Just because the so-called experts announce the death of a particular media, it may not mean it's dead. Maybe it just means that so few people do it anymore that you'll get a lot more cut through because you're the only person doing it. The world is full of experts, but they're not always right. And even if they are, things move so fast they may not be next week.

The other critical thing I want to mention is strawberry patches. Now once you've gotten your head around that less than subtle segue, I want to explain that strawberry patch in this article is a metaphor for your existing customers and contacts. So often when people come to me for SEO or marketing assistance, I have to stop them in their tracks and get them to consider first what they do to keep their existing customers happy before they go racing off to chase new ones (making sure you have a process for handling new business is also a key step to take before spending money on marketing). 

So electronic direct mail (EDMs), postcards, thank you gifts, etc are initiatives that can drive real results in your business. So don't take as gospel what the doomsayers proclaim. Make your own investigations and choices, and remember that sometimes old school doesn't mean dead and buried.

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