Netrooters Oblivious to Direct Mail basics
OMG! They spent all the $
By krempasky Posted in Archived — Comments (3) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
Every year, we see it again: shrieking, hand-wringing, gloating (?) lefties pointing fingers at Republican direct mail fundraisers. Trouble is, they don't seem to have much idea what they're talking about.
Best, I can tell from this article and the post at TPM, these concerned Democratic activists and journalists are really just looking out for the little guy - the conservative donor, the upstart Republican challenger being fleeced by some nameless (or nearly so) DC consultant mill.
Pfft. How many times must we explain that building a direct mail program is a capital expenditure?
Call it Direct Mail 101:
1. Invest funds to prospect for potential donors. Very low response rate, very expensive to mail.
2. Lose money.
3. Invest more funds to turn first-time donors into repeat supporters. This mail often gets MORE expensive, since the 2nd gift is considered by many the most important. Hopefully, response rates go up.
4. Lose more money.
5. Go back to your donors (known now as your "house file").
6. Make (some) money.
7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for several cycles.
When a political candidate quits the race after step #4, it should surprise no one that barely any cash went to the rest of the campaign. WHY WOULD IT? And this assumption that our poor challenger was left with nothing? Pfft. How about a donor list of X thousands of names? I'd have to look it up, but it's probably north of 30k. And putting aside the lifetime value of those names as DONORS, they represent a real asset on the rental market by themselves.
BTW, there are lots of shady direct mail folks out there on every side of every aisle. Mailing post-campaign could be appropriate (debt reduction) or might not - hard to say without seeing the mail.