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Aug 1, 2019

On today’s episode of Just the Tips, Dean and I welcome Ryan Cote, a man who has done something truly unique in this day and age, and that’s combining digital marketing with old-school direct mail to create a marketing powerhouse. Ryan is the Director of Digital Services and Partner at Ballantine, a third-generation, family-owned direct mail and digital marketing company based out of Fairfield, NJ. Ballantine has been serving small-business clients since 1966, when it was founded by Ryan’s great-uncle. Ryan has been with his family’s agency since 2003, and today he manages the growing digital marketing division.

Entering the family business

Most of the entrepreneurs Dean and I speak with on Just the Tips have their entrepreneurial origin story. But Ryan didn’t start his first business as a kid: He worked in the family one. He started doing data entry and any other small jobs the business needed to get done when he was very young. And for a long time, he didn’t think he would land there permanently. But then he created Ballantine’s digital division, and really got things off the ground.

Two heads are better than one

For about two years, Ryan was the only member of the digital marketing department Ballantine. And while he was picking up clients here and there, he wasn’t making a big difference in the company in terms of revenue. It wasn’t until his brother joined his department and he had someone to bounce ideas off of that he started landing larger clients. This led Dean to share a story from his early days, in which he would pretend to be different people from his company, calling potential clients. You have to hear it to believe it.

How to get started with direct mail

As Dean says on this week’s episode, he’s always collected addresses of clients, but has never done anything with that information. Ryan says the minimum you want to do for direct mail is 10,000, because that’s enough to gauge the success of a campaign. But you can still start relatively small, sending out postcards where the printing and the postage won’t break the bank. And you can connect your direct mail to your email campaigns, so your message resonates with your customers or potential customers.

Direct mail retargeting

One of the things Ryan discusses on this week’s episode is a mind-blowing new marketing technology that Ballantine has, where they can actually capture a person’s mailing address when they visit your website. Creepy? A big. Effective? Definitely. It’s a whole new way to use your website to grow your mailing list. Ryan and Ballantine are total pros who have bridged the gap from the heyday of direct mail, to the current world of digital marketing and back again.

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:30] How Ryan got into the family business
  • [6:00] Dean’s disgrace (this week)
  • [7:04] Ballantine’s famous clients
  • [8:42] Getting started with direct mail 
  • [15:38] The benefits of direct mail
  • [19:30] Direct mail response rates
  • [23:20] Retargeting direct mail
  • [30:00] Ballantine’s offer

Music for “Just The Tips” is titled, “Happy Happy Game Show” by Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Resources Mentioned

Connect With James and Dean

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