Direct Mail Still an Important Part of the Mix

Sorry for the long time between posts…it’s been a busy week here at BioInformatics, LLC .  Of special note, I was invited to make a presentation of another major life science supplier and discuss many of the topics presented here in this blog.  I was struck yet again by how few of those present were familiar with the work we’ve performed for their company.  I’d be interested in hearing from readers how market research is handled in you company…is it widely disseminated or is it hoarded away and accessible to only a select few?

I though that today I’d write about direct mail and the life science market. Scientists consider direct mail to be a useful and efficient way to receive product information from vendors, and particularly value the ability to control the sales interaction by choosing whether or not to respond to the solicitation.

38% of scientists report that, on average, they receive ten or more pieces of direct mail from vendors each week.  Despite the high volume of mail received, 34% of them claim to actually open and read at least 80% of the mail they receive.  Most scientists take an active interest in the products available to them and view direct mail as both informative and unobtrusive.  In order to be successful, careful design will help ensure that a mail piece stands out from the clutter.

Scientists would prefer to determine what they receive, and are often willing to complete detailed profile cards in order to ensure they receive useful material relevant to their area of investigation.  We know that scientists are extremely receptive to technical newsletters provides a striking example of how what is essentially an advertisement can be transformed into a welcome and valued resource

We’ve been told by scientists that “currently using a vendor’s products” is the primary motivator to open direct mail indicates that the medium is used most effectively for targeting existing customers rather than for prospecting.  Thus, direct mail campaigns targeted primarily toward current customers are an essential element in building brand equity.

My personal opinion is that direct mail is far more effective when viewed in terms of one-to-one marketing, rather than as an element of general advertising.  It’s therefore important to assign a specific market mission to every mail program you initiate.  Direct mail offers tremendous opportunities to implement a direct marketing program that creates an impression of personal attention and customized service.  And an added bonus is that direct mail can be used to “open doors” at industrial or other accounts where access to end-users is often restricted.

Finally, in another example of the importance of integrated marketing, 53% of say that when they need more information after receiving an interesting mail piece they visit the vendor’s Web site to learn more.  Thus, it’s essential that the Web address provided on the mail piece direct them to the specific information they’re seeking.  It always amazes me how so many ads and mail pieces send people to the homepage and hope they find what they’re looking for.