Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Matter opens up permission to direct mail

I came across an engaging concept for direct mail marketing in the latest edition of Springwise. The premise is easy, matter (a collaboration between Artomatic and Royal Mail in the UK) recruits people to sign up for a targeted box of promotional items from a variety of advertisers. Boxes are designed by matter to be relevant to a chosen demographic - right now matter is recruiting males aged 25-35 - and mailings are sent out. The matter box arrives on a Saturday, catching the recipient on a weekend when they're more likely to have time to engage with the advertisers' free gifts. And from there the hope is that by engaging people with interesting branded items the consumer will become more interested/engaged in the advertisers' products.

The only hole (and it's a large one) I see in the current execution is that matter tells visitors exactly who they're looking for. So if you're a 50 year old female who just wants a box full of free stuff (admit it, we all like free stuff) it becomes incredibly easy for you to transform yourself into a 30 year old male on the sign-up form. A better approach would be to invite everyone to sign-up, create a database, and use that to target advertisers to build a matter mailing around. Come to the table with an already established, interested group of consumers and it's an easier sell to get the advertisers on board. Another short fall is matter is not collecting data past the generic contact information. In a micro-targeting era it becomes increasingly difficult to justify blanketing targets based solely on age and sex. I would think recipients and advertisers alike would prefer more targeted mailings, e.g. 25-35 year old males that work full time in an IT profession, exercise 3 times a week and are single.

While I think matter is a great concept and I'm interested in hearing more about its success, with a few minor tweaks matter could make itself that much more relevant to both advertisers and consumers.


Rishi said...

Interesting example.. in fact a couple of months ago I was approached by an agency who specializes in a similar direct marketing activity, albeit with a slight difference. The difference (vs the example you mentioned) was to the lines that you alluded i.e. they have a database of "direct marketers" who have been selected and segmented based on a combination of their demographic and psychographic profile. On the other hand, this agency pitches to companies and based on the brands the companies want to sample/ talk about through direct mail, they send it to the relevant matches from their rich database. Another noteworthy thing is that in recruiting these "Direct marketers" they hone upon those who are influencers/ opnion leaders. The samples are then send to these selected people and they in turn do their word of mouth marketing...

Valerie said...

It sounds like you might be referring to Bzz Agent??? If so, the thing that impresses me most about their method of word of mouth marketing is not so much the use of influences in spreading the marketer's message, but the rich feedback you would receive via 'bzz reports.' I think this type of marketing activity would yield great results for a new product launch. Not only would you gain a more engaged trial group, but you might received some valuable feedback that could help refine the product before a larger national launch.

Rishi said...

I am talking about Bzz Agents, and you are right, they have historically proven to be more effective with new products than with existing brands...I have not seen the Bzz reports, but based on your comment it seems they are helpful. Have you used them for any of your product launches?

Marketing Engagement said...

I haven't used them. My knowledge of the company comes mainly from my being a bzzagent and from Dave Balter's (Bzz Agent's founder) book Grapevine. Let me know if you'd like to read the book, I'd be happy to drop it off for you.

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