Google keeps doing it, so why don’t you – only fools ignore facts…

Marketers are a strange breed. We love to defy evidence and facts in the pursuit of fashion. The Institute For Marketing Science calls it “Trend Blindness”.

Take for instance one of the most successful and longest performing media channels in the world, aside from face-to-face selling. It’s been around for 150 years and was the pioneer of virtual shopping.

It’s called direct mail. It is an extremely successful channel, not to mention one very much loved by consumers. Yet when the internet was invented, something happened to the brains of marketers and many stopped using mail.

I own an email SaaS business which grew as a result. But just because a new channel has some cheaper options, it doesn’t mean you stop using a channel that works. What lunacy drives that sort of thinking?

Even the science proves the strength of mail over other less engaging channels. Customers love how it engages them – to use the current vernacular.

The people at Google are not stupid. That’s why Google is one of the world’s biggest fans of direct mail. Here’s something I received last week. Here and here are other Google examples.

Clear plastic envelope…
Letter inviting me to “Geek out with Google”

The RSVP is a unique URL, no doubt linked to my contact details. Simple stuff really.

They even used one of the oldest direct mail tricks – an involvement device. A couple of sheets of temporary tattoos were inserted in the envelope, for use at the event, or otherwise if that’s your fancy.

Involvement device – sheets of tattoos

So again the question has to be asked: “If Google does it why don’t you?”

After all, every brand on the planet used direct mail until only a decade ago – and the smart ones still do – fully integrated with other personal media. Or should that be “fully omni-channelled” with other personal media?

I’m off to check my letterbox…


  1. I’m too embarrassed to publicly post a note of congratulations every time you write something that is music to my eyes, lest I appear pathetically obsequious. (Tautology?)

    But… privately … congratulations! And thank you. 🙂 I’m going to use this in my upcoming promo to my clients for direct mail.


    Kind Regards

    *Naomi Blacker* Director

    *Woof Media* *Your marketing partners in web and print*

    *office*: Shop 7, 80 Tasman Terrace *mail*: PO Box 2740 *where*: Port Lincoln SA 5606

    t. 08 8682 6093 f. 08 8682 2445 e. web.

  2. Great article as always Malcolm! I don’t know much about direct mail yet, but as a customer it looks like a hugely undervalued venue. Here is a funny pic that I think describes it accurately:

    3 short questions if I may:

    1) Do you mean you grew your email SaaS business mainly with direct mail?

    2) Does buying lists of addresses work for direct mailing?

    3) Google is pretty known, does it work for… “cold mailing” as well, or is it better left for following up with people who already know you?

    “Customers love how it engages them” – literally laughed out loud at this 😀


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