Everyone has a Mailbox

I was listening to NPR the other day and heard a news report on expected campaign spending for the upcoming 2016 Presidential campaigns. Based on the money the two leaders featured have generated (Clinton and Bush) as well as the anticipated PAC spending, the predictions for this campaign year’s spend have increased—by $500 million dollars.

Gulp! 500 million. That was a shock to me. I immediately thought it would all go to digital. But as the commentator continued, it turns out that it will mostly go to Television--another surprise. The commentator asked if that was happening because the buyers and campaign planners were older and more comfortable spending on TV. And, again, I was taken aback by the answer. It turns out campaign spending isn’t generationally driven, it is driven by ‘reach’. A marketing term used to determine how many people you can successfully reach with one activity. So this means that campaigns aren’t able to reach enough viewers through online—evidently there are not enough impressions available to accomplish their goals—but they can reach more people through television. This of course got me thinking….why aren’t they using direct mail? Direct mail can reach almost everyone. Why? Because almost everyone has a mailbox. According to my mail expert, Trish Witkowski of foldfactory.com, "USPS delivers to 151 million households and businesses. Mail gets to the mainstream, the underserved, the technologically challenged, the aging. Everyone has access to mail, which is a differentiator when you’re in an election cycle. Mail is also an opportunity for a one-to-one conversation with someone. It’s very personal. And, we all know that politics are personal. The medium really matches up with the mission." What’s more, a study by the Direct Marketing Association, The Power of Direct Marketing, 2011-12, found that direct mail brings in approximately $12 for every $1 invested. Maybe the candidates should order a copy of Act Now! and learn to produce effective direct mail. I think all of us in the graphic arts industry would like to benefit from a $500 million dollar spend. Does that make sense?

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