Are the Days of Direct Mail Marketing Dead For Insurance Agencies?

Are the Days of Direct Mail Marketing Dead For Insurance Agencies?

We certainly like our mailman who faithfully delivers our mail, or to be politically correct perhaps we should say mail person or postal worker. however on most days, we should simply say why is he coming at all? Though we do receive physical checks each week, these could be delivered twice a week, or we could simply ask clients to pay via PayPal or online move, something we are currently discussing. On event we receive a letter from family or a friend, but 99% of the time, our communications are delivered via email or social networking. My children’s grandparents, as they near 80 years old, have now moved to email as their dominant method of communication.

Last Tuesday, our diligent and timely mail person delivered 11 mail items to our house which is also a home based office. All of them were solicitations of one kind or another including: Asian Food, Pool Supplies, Electronics, Cosmetics, substitute Windows, Credit Card Offer, Window & Gutter Cleaning, University Fund Raising, Household Items, Religious Fund Raising and a Technical School Brochure. If there was an insurance agency marketing brochure which comprised the 12th mail item, it would have joined all of the others as they were casually discarded into the recycling bucket. I’m not sure why agencies and other companies continue to send snail mail, it’s expensive, slow, difficult to track and measure and environmentally unfriendly. I suppose some companies nevertheless find this kind of marketing worthwhile, or at the minimum familiar. However, there are far better ways to invest insurance agency marketing dollars. After all, direct mail, now known as snail mail, is an anachronism, a phonograph kind solution in an iPod age.

Don’t get me wrong, I respect the right of these companies to market their products and sets, I simply think they should do it electronically, and we shouldn’t have to subsidize it, or expend time, money and gas to deliver it. I say we, because it is really our tax dollars that subsidize the great wasteland of direct junk mail. The post office, which has been running losses of approximately $1.5 Billion per quarter, recently offered the following statements in their 10-Q quarterly report.

  • “The recent losses are chiefly attributable to unheard of declines in mail volumes that began in 2008.”
  • “The Postal Service projects debt noticeable at year-end to increase over the September 30, 2009 balance by the maximum allowable $3 billion, to $13.2 billion. The $15 billion debt ceiling will become insufficient in 2011.”

Though taxpayers don’t fund the loss directly, the USPS borrows from the treasury to pay for the deficits. The net consequence is dollars out of taxpayer pockets. Recently, it was hypothesizedv that six day a week mail service should end in favor of five day a week delivery. This is a ridiculous interim step. Discussions should revolve around reducing deliveries to three days a week, and we should increase the fees to direct mail marketers to encourage companies to utilize more electronic marketing and communication.

Insurance Agencies which nevertheless use direct mail marketing should take this initial proposal for a reduction in snail mail service as an threatening omen, and embrace a more digital method of marketing and communication. After all, there are now many choices obtainable that are more efficient and environmentally friendly than direct mail: eMail, Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising and Web Seminar Marketing to mention just a few. Television and radio offer more environmentally friendly opportunities than old fashioned direct mail, though these alternatives can be more costly and difficult to target than eMarketing, Web Seminar Marketing and PPC Advertising for insurance agencies.

in spite of, all of these non paper based options are less oil consumptive and labor intensive than the “596,000 workers and over 218,000 vehicles” the post office uses to deliver mail according to Wikipedia. That’s a lot of brick and mortar infrastructure to deliver 11 pieces of direct marketing junk mail (or 12 if your agency brochure was included), and I doubt we want to run a $6 Billion annual deficit to accomplish this. Will snail mail slowly slither along to a slow and silent death? Ultimately, some day in the foreseeable future, I think so. But for now, my credo for insurance agency marketing remains the same, “Don’t go postal, go virtual.”

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