I recently read this story in the Wall Street Journal and I love telling it to my  marketing friends and watching their faces as I tell them the punch line.

Here’s the Story…

About a year ago, a CEO named Ms. Settle was looking for ways to cut back her costs amid the recent recession.  Considering all the advancements in online marketing and email, she decided it was time to let go of an ‘old school’ marketing channel that she thought had run it’s course.  She then placed all of her focus on email marketing primarily because of the low costs.

She had been spending more than $ 20k/yr. on this “out of date” traffic source, so it was a significant cost cut for her company.  Feeling confident about her decision, she excitedly reviewed her quarterly reports when they came in and was shocked to see that sales were down 25%!

You can imagine her surprise and shock. She figured the recession was worse than she realized.  Luckily, she was able to pinpoint the real issue. She lost the sales because she dropped one of the most solid and viable traffic sources she had been using for years. Her response was, “We realized we had made a HUGE mistake.”

She’s not the only one…the truth is, that a lot of companies have ditched this old marketing channel because of the recession.  Just as many companies ditched it just because it’s considered to be passé.

In June of the same year, Ms. Settles opened up the marketing channel that she closed, and almost immediately recouped the 25% in lost sales!

So what marketing channel did Ms. Settles ditch? … Offline marketing!

But it’s not necessarily the direct mail you’re thinking of (i.e. sending massive amounts of fliers to an untargeted list).  Like any marketing channel, direct mail has evolved too, and the bar has been raised.  The result is marketers spending more time to deliver personalized and more valuable content (something more appealing than junk mail).

What’s the moral of the story?  Don’t discount older marketing methods, instead breathe new life into them! The truth is, leaving them out could cut a hole in your business and ignoring could be preventing you from realizing your potential.

Are you guilty as charged? Leave a comment!

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