GenY to the Xpower

A Million Dollar Direct Mail Success by Valerie Hoven
December 2, 2010, 8:04 pm
Filed under: Healthcare

This is now the second article I’ve read saying that direct mail is a poor marketing tactic, calling it a “dinosaur,” fail or just an archaic type of outlet that’s “dead.” Direct mail isn’t dead. And the people who say it’s a poor marketing tactic are people who shouldn’t have a job in marketing. Your direct mail didn’t fail, you just missed the three important factors to all direct mail campaigns: a targeted audience, a clear call to action and an aesthetically pleasing look that should identify your brand. Don’t blame the mail because you failed as a marketer.

Here’s a million dollar example. Hopkins Medical Center, a leading academic medical center, uses direct mail as a major source for their patient-directed marketing. They sent letters to 300 patients who just had bariatric surgery. The letter talked about the benefits of body sculpting, and then it was signed by their doctor.

Cost for mailing 300 letters: $2,285
Net Revenue: $2,290,000
Contribution Margin: $1,079,000

For direct mail, you must have a specific call to action (ie purchase body sculpting). You must have a targeted audience (people who just had hundreds of pounds surgically removed) and a nice look to the mail (formal letter from the doctors).

At my hospital, we offer dozens of free events and classes to the community. For about a dozen of them, we send them an invitation in the mail. On average, roughly half of the people who attend the events come from direct mail. And on average we get $30 million in net revenue a year from new patients who attended an event, and half of them came because they received a postcard or letter in the mail inviting them to it.

Saying direct mail is dead is a strong statement, and it’s flat out wrong. Are we sick of junk mail? Of course! Is direct mail junk mail? It shouldn’t be.


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[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by valerie hoven, valerie hoven. valerie hoven said: is direct mail dead? a response to another article ( that says direct mail is a dinosaur. #hcmktg […]

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Popular Business Opportunity Magazine, Home Business Connection, will Mail to 200,000 Monthly in 2010, a 50% Increase in Circulation…

I found your entry interesting thus I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

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Valerie – Are your direct mail efforts handled internally or do you use a vendor?


(P.S. I’m not a direct mail vendor – I have a client who may interested in hiring one.)

Comment by Jason Stone

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