9.29.2009

Print isn't always dead


Seth Godin recently wrote an article about what the results might be if Craigslist cost $1. The premise of the article is that a one dollar fee could cause just enough friction to prevent spamming, while generating revenue and getting rid of some of the problematic anonymity that corresponds with free. I think he's dead on.
This same concept of friction applies well to marketing campaigns. Sending out a direct mail piece to thousands of people has some significant printing and mailing costs that can't be avoided. In light of the costs it can be tempting to compare a direct mailing to something like an e-mail blast. However, this comparison isn't a complete picture. E-mail can be sent by anyone to any number of people and so there's very little value or trust placed in an individual e-mail. In contrast the cost of a mailing gives a small amount of legitimacy to the message being sent; it says our message is worth enough that we invested in printing this and mailing it to you. Granted I get plenty of junk in the mail, but the stuff that manages to make it all the way to my physical mailbox tends to be more relevant to me and fewer in quantity when compared to what makes into my digital inbox let alone the spam folder.
E-mail is very powerful tool but shouldn't be mistaken as the only tool. In this case print isn't dead.

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