I read an article recently which highlighted the difficulty faced by many small businesses. A company in America was suffering somewhat due to the recent economic downturn and so in an effort to tighten their belts they ditched their annual direct mailing budget and replaced it with email.

However, a 25% drop in orders compared to the same time last year had them quickly reconsidering their decision. Whilst initially blaming the drop on the recession, the company was surprised to start hearing from customers they never got their ‘reminder’ in the mail. A postcard mailing soon recouped the loss and made the company think again about the role of direct mail and its importance to customers. In the future the company is planning to use e-marketing to complement the direct mail piece, not replace it.

And that really is the crux of the matter – when new communications methods come along there is a temptation to throw out the old, but we need to ensure we don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. It’s about the mix, and the new choices simply give us more potential ingredients.