Social Media vs. Direct Marketing: Place Your Bets Now

The match between direct marketing and social media
Welcome to the match of the decade – Social Media vs. Direct Marketing. Around the globe people are choosing sides, anticipating that one will overcome the other. Let’s take a moment to review their features:

In one corner, we have Social Media, a young, agile, and engaging contender.

He’s been taking the circuit by storm. His ability to sweep the globe with your marketing message at minimal cost is particularly appealing. Then, there is that one-to-one contact with your customers and prospects. Having Social Media on your side turns your company into the corner store. You can chat with your customers and really get to know them.

Unfortunately, there is a dark side. Social Media is fickle. He’s there helping you one minute and the next, he’s alienating customers. Social Media is very unforgiving. One faux pas can undo years of brand building.

And, he is high maintenance. He demands continuous attention. Without it, he forgets you and everything you’ve contributed to his growth. Your message is like a bolt of lightning: one flash and it’s gone.

In the other corner, we have Direct Marketing, an established, proven, and measurable contender.

He’s been around so long the new guys keep saying, “I thought he was dead.” He isn’t dead, he’s working quietly in the background filling coffers and building loyalty. And, he has that long tail that keeps orders coming in months after the first strike. Let’s not forget how measurable he is. Almost every aspect of Direct Marketing can be tested and measured so you can maximize your return.

Direct Marketing has a dark side, too. If you are into instant gratification, he is not for you. It takes time to plan and implement one of his programs. And, then more time to see the return. He is expensive, too. Upfront costs can be prohibitive for start-ups and newcomers.

Before you place your bets, consider this:

What would happen if we could get Social Media and Direct Marketing to work together? Wouldn’t they be a great tag team? Just think about how it could be:

  • Direct Marketing could invite your customers to join your network. When they arrive, Social Media could personally welcome them.
  • Social Media could create anticipation by telling customers when Direct Marketing is sending new information.
  • Direct Marketing and Social Media could work together to provide 5 Star customer service.

I don’t know about you, but I’m betting on the DM/SM team. Together they infinitely expand their individual potential.

For information on how this applies to your business, email Debra at

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • David Barnes

    I think the viewpoint expressed is pretty accurate. The combined effect of the two strategies downplays the negatives of each individually. Looks like a Match made in Heaven.

  • Christine

    Teamwork is a beautiful thing, isn’t it? One way to combine direct mail with social media marketing is with plastic card mailers. Similar to postcards, but much more appealing, this type of direct mail piece is unique and eye catching. Offers such as loyalty cards or membership programs with “refer a friend” promotions are great ways to form the basis for your networking circle. From my experience combining DM/SM generates the highest ROI!

  • Debra Ellis

    David, I love your “Match made in Heaven”. It’s perfect for this post.

    Christine, Yes, teamwork is wonderful. Plastic card mailers is a great idea. I’ve had the same experience with DM/SM increasing ROI. The people hesitating to join SM don’t know what they’re missing!

  • Gunes

    Debra, fantastic post. I always explain to my clients that SM is not here to completely replace traditional marketing efforts. And furthermore, integration is key so that they work together to make a company stronger, to present one message, and one branding. Your article brings the point home. Thank you.

  • Debra Ellis

    Thank you, Gunes. I’m starting to see more people adopting an integration of social and traditional media policy. It’s required since businesses need all tools that work to be successful.

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