Where the Big Fish Bite

On a cold, wet day October day recently I was talking to the folks at our local farmer’s market who sell wild caught, environmentally harvested Alaskan salmon.

Here in Colorado, the farmer’s market shuts down from November to March, so I asked, what do you guys do during the winter?

Turns out they sell to local restaurants and grocery stores. Sounded like it wasn’t very lucrative. Or much fun.

I asked if they were familiar with Omaha Steaks, the hugely successful mail order company that packs and delivers fresh cuts of high quality meats, typically to affluent households.

That brought up a lively discussion about their (Omaha Steaks) amazing packing system and how they overcome the challenge of keeping the meats cold enough to be delivered fresh…

“Have you ever considered a similar model for salmon?”, I asked.

We’ll leave the conversation there for the moment, but let me ask you – were you selling a specialty item, favored by affluent buyers across the U.S., what would you do?

What if, for example you were selling parts for muscle cars? Seems like that might be a little competitive, right?

In his October 2012 “No B.S. Marketing to the Affluent” newsletter, Dan Kennedy describes a client, Jason Heard, who until recently was just barely breaking even selling parts to auto repair shops.

He tailored an in-shop technology and supply of parts for doing rear end rebuilds for affluent clients at top prices. He branded his parts, which now sell for 3-4 times the competition and franchised the process at $4,000 a pop.

In a recent direct mail campaign, he mailed out 212 letters. That mailing produced three new franchisees, one of which immediately ordered $22,000 in parts.

Result: $34,000 gross from $600 in mail cost, a return of 5,667%.

Be advised, results may not be typical. But could there be a hidden opportunity for you in all this?

Yes, I know I’ve been preaching the virtues of being at the top of your game in the online space…

But if you believe you can become wealthy marketing purely online while ignoring opportunities presented by direct mail, you might want to think again.

Consider this: An accurately targeted, well-crafted direct mail campaign can get the right message directly into the hands of your ideal prospect. In a space where they can’t just click to whoever else is clamoring for attention.

Although savvy companies are increasing investment into direct mail, you still have way less competition in a reader’s mail box than you do by web page or email.

And it’s not just boomers responding to direct mail.

As demographer KGC Direct president Kenneth W. Gronbach points out, “There’s so much new technology now. You can marry the mail piece to your digital channels. This could be the genesis of the ‘new mail.'”

According to their research, “Millennial” consumers (those born 1985 to 2004) in the U.S. purchase at rates of about 500 percent more than their parents’ generation (in adjusted dollars).

Back to my friends at the fish stand.

The owner was thoughtful, but his assistant was certain that such a product would be too expensive. Nobody would buy it.

Maybe that’s what your competition is thinking too. Why bother, they say.

So let me ask you this: If you’re relying on internet strategies alone, what kind of big fish are you missing that might land trolling deeper waters with better bait?

I’ve had some very good experiences using direct mail, and am currently working on some new campaigns – will keep you posted.

Bottom Line: Don’t miss direct mail as a key part of your marketing plan.