It's an inconvenient truth, but the rise of the Internet hasn't been as helpful to some as it has others. The inbound marketing field is booming, but some industries tied to outbound marketing means are suffering. More specifically, the U.S. Postal Service is losing money. Lots and lots of money.
Unfortunately, instead of coming up with an innovative way to stop the bleeding, the USPS decided to take a step in the wrong direction. According to CNN Money, the USPS is trying to boost revenues by launching a campaign that encourages marketers to send more direct mail—what we know as junk mail.
This is troubling for several reasons. While many people think junk mail is merely obtrusive and annoying, its environmental costs are staggering (junk mail kills 2.6 million trees every year) and is far more expensive than many marketing alternatives. If so many marketers are willing to accept these drawbacks, direct mail must be a pretty effective source of lead generation, right?
As it turns out, that's not really the case. Only about a third of marketers that took part in a Hubspot survey indicated that direct mail generated a below average cost per lead. Inbound marketing tools like blogs (52%), social media (45%) and search engine optimization (38%) all finished ahead of direct mail when it comes to minimizing costs per lead. Additionally, 51% of those marketers surveyed said direct mail had become less important as a source of leads in the last six months. That's a greater percentage than any other source of leads.
The USPS wants marketers to revert back to the old marketing strategies, but the truth is, direct mail is on its way out. The easiest way to reach potential customers in the online world of 2012 is through inbound marketing, not junk mail.