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How Direct Marketing is Like a Zoo

Tips for planning a direct marketing campaign

Running a business, planning a marketing campaign, managing everyday life and keeping an eye to the future can often be hectic.

It may be true that all that “organized chaos” of life sometimes feels as fast-paced as running a zoo full of wild animals, but I’m going in a different direction.

In a way, a well-run zoo actually resembles the pieces of an effective direct marketing campaign. Bear with me as I explain… no pun intended.

At a well-run zoo and in a direct marketing campaign…

There’s not just one attraction.

A trip to the zoo is the chance to see a variety of animals you don’t encounter otherwise. A single exhibit show wouldn’t garner the crowds of visitors roaming the zoo on sunny afternoons.

Likewise, a good direct marketing campaign isn’t made up of just one medium of communication. It pulls from and integrates with direct mail, online marketing, e-mail, and mobile marketing to reach a broad base of consumers. Direct marketing that is one dimensional can lose the appeal that draws in attention.

Every attraction has its own purpose.

From the giant panda to the white alligator, most zoos have a unique or hard-to-find animal displayed as the main attraction. Though there are many exciting things to see, this is the feature that sets them apart.

For direct marketing, often the “heavy hitter” feature is your direct mail offers that arrive in consumers’ home mailboxes. It’s the personal, targeted piece of your marketing plan that sets you apart from your competitors.

But, lets not discredit all the other attractions. People have their preferences, and a zoo accommodates those looking for the powerful lions in their dens and the mysterious creatures in the reptile house.

In the same way, the other components of direct marketing cannot be overlooked. Knowing your customers so you can reach them according to preferences is essential. Mobile marketing appeals to on-the-go customers, online marketing appeals to millennials and tech-savvy customers, and e-mail reaches those who like the convenience of instant offers.

Every attraction is vital to the success of the whole zoo.

A zoo can have a renowned flamingo display or farm animal petting area, but if customers want chimpanzees and the zoo is ape-free, the appeal is lost. Drawing in a wide base of customers requires a well-rounded breadth of animals.

Similarly, a potential customer may not find your store if you don’t have an easily accessibly website, and if your local marketing offers are lacking or for the same product/service every month, the appeal can be lost. Every piece of a direct marketing campaign, from the medium you use to reach customers to the offers and coupons you provide, is connected.

The direct mail ads should integrate with your online presence, and your mobile marketing should support the coupons you provide. Each piece adds to the well-roundedness of your campaign and contributes to the overall success of your marketing plan.

What is the top challenge you face in trying to build a well-rounded direct marketing campaign?



Valpak, one of the leading direct marketing companies in North America, is owned and operated by Cox Target Media, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Cox Media Group. With nearly 170 franchises throughout the United States and Canada, The Blue Envelope® delivers savings and value to nearly 40 million households each month.
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