Have you noticed what’s in your mailbox since the election last week? Or more properly what’s not? There was a fair amount of candidate promotional mail up until Tuesday the 4th but aside from the few stragglers who came in with vote pleas AFTER Election Day the lack of volume of mail in our mailbox is noticeable.
It was never good to see three Victoria’s Secret catalogs in the same week (well at least not from a business perspective) but now we get none. Holiday catalog mailings are way fewer and page counts are down down down. We all understand the desire to send less and drive the customer (or citizen you would like to be a customer) to the web catalog. But people really do look at the catalog to do shopping. Of course there are the e-commerce dedicated folks who proudly disdain any received mail however they do not make up the majority of the population. And while sending a postcard to drive web traffic is a good strategy it is a dangerous thing indeed to make it the ONLY tactic.
It’s obvious that dollar value spend will be down on individual gifts this holiday season. But people will buy gifts and I also am feeling a general backlash against gift cards. A couple of weekends I tried to use a gift card I received earlier this year and found that it had expired. ARRGH! So that really ticked me off and I have vowed not to buy one single gift card for anyone this season. Sure it’s easier, less thought involved. But it is also less caring and if I am going to spend less money on someone the least I could do is invest myself in really thinking about what would be the appropriate gift. For the same reason that handing over cash seems inappropriate in lieu of a gift card.
Fewer catalogs, mail promotions this season will only exacerbate the drop in sales that retailers and catalog companies will feel and to add to it then the pipeline will be drier than ever come the end of the holiday season. And keep in mind with the mailbox being less cluttered than in recent memory marketing messages and offers will better penetrate and resonate!
Mailing less and mailing smarter are options that must be considered. But not mailing at all will have companies struggling Q1 2009 to answer the question of where all the top line revenue has disappeared to? They are blowing it big time.