Doc grew up in the era when AOL was sending out so many CDs in the mail that people began using them as coasters and put them in their fruit trees to scare away birds. So naturally, I thought the days of disc marketing were behind us.
But according to Chantal Tode over at the Marketing Powers Activate blog, the Direct Marketing Association is undertaking one of the first market research projects to determine the effectiveness of using disc media in combination with direct mail.
The theory is that it's better to control the user experience than it is to just send people to a Web address. Here's some of what the disc-industry has to say:
"Ad agencies don't understand that this isn't a standalone disc," says Guy Finley, who is the director of DiscMail Direct. However, optical discs can link with the Internet when inserted into a computer, which gives marketers a way to "keep recipients engaged and not out there with a competitor," he continues.
Finley points to the example of a parent who receives several Halloween costume catalogs. When it comes time to buy, however, the consumer simply goes online and types the name of the character costume desired by the child into a search engine and buys it from the list of results that come up. If one of the catalogers had included a disc with its catalog, however, the consumer could have reviewed the catalog online and clicked "buy" from there.
"The goal is to be able to integrate a disc so that it keeps the end-user in the direct mail channel and doesn't release them into the wild of the Internet," says Finley.
Doc's not sure he totally buys that logic. When it comes time to ordering is that same parent going to remember where they put the disc, go get it, put it into their computer and then go online to order the costume?
That doesn't mean I don't think there is a place for optical discs in direct marketing. The combination of an effective print campaign with the added deliverables an optical disc can provide, could be very enticing. But you have to deliver something of value to the consumer (a free video game, application, or videos) and not just an electronic version of the company Website.