Why do businesses spend more money on direct marketing than on any other form of marketing? Quite simply, because it works.

Direct marketing yields tangible results. It is flexible, it can fit into virtually any budget, and it offers more control over who receives your message than any other form of marketing. You can purchase sortable lists that let you choose the exact geographic and demographic areas you need to reach. And you can continue to enhance these lists with the results of each campaign.

The reality is that direct marketing remains one of the most cost effective, efficient and easiest ways to expand market share. However, success in any direct marketing venture requires careful planning and preparation. In fact, planning is at the very core of the direct marketing process. Without it, a business risks wasting valuable resources, missing important opportunities and losing substantial revenue — in other words, dismal results that no company can tolerate in today’s challenging economy.

Any credible direct marketing plan addresses the proverbial who, what, where why and when. Who is your customer? What is the service or product you are promoting? Why should a customer choose your offering? Where should you be concentrating your efforts? And, when, or how frequently should you solicit your targeted audience?

As shown in the following sections, planning a successful direct mail campaign entails:
Determining viable objectives and budget
Targeting the right market/demographics/location
Possessing pertinent and comprehensive data
Creating the most effective graphic representation and compelling copy possible
Making the right offer
Including an effective call to action
Offering a guarantee and reason for the customer to believe
Committing to a consistent and ongoing program
Choosing the right resources