Direct Mail is Still an Essential Part of any Marketing Strategy

It would be easy to disregard the power of printed materials in a world on the verge of complete digitization. In terms of acting like consumers, there has been an obvious shift to the speed, efficiency and ultimate accessibility to our favorite products, brands and services via the Internet.

In fact, any modern marketing strategy is almost obligated to allocate a significant amount of resources to digital efforts: designing a sleek, user-friendly website, devising email campaigns and pushing social media to increase overall presence.

The immense proliferation of technology in the last few years would suggest that any need for a printed, direct mail strategy has been negated. However, in the pursuit of high-performance marketing, this is still a hugely valuable asset that when combined with powerful big-data insights, can bolster your overall strategy and ultimately boost sales.

Print’s dead, though, right?

Not only is direct mail still a viable marketing tactic, it could actually provide your company with an opportunity to stand out amidst all of the competition we now find online. While it shouldn’t be your company’s sole tool, it can act in a complementary role in terms of accessing your customers at the right time with a relevant message. While digitization has forced the newspaper and magazine industries to downsize and adapt, companies are still finding benefits from mailing their customers directly.

Why? For several reasons. First of all, it can be your company’s personal touch.

Mobile data is giving marketers better insights into what consumers are searching for, what they’re trying to purchase and when. This is critical in terms of designing targeted approaches to ensure consumers are actually benefiting from your marketing. However, it’s easy to lose any kind of personalization when everything is automated. With more complete and accurate mailing lists–informed by big-data–direct mail is still the standard for reaching out to customers with a personal touch.

We still want very real things in our hands, which is something totally lost in email inboxes.

The flexibility of direct mail allows you to create something that can reach into consumer psyches more deeply than well-crafted emails. Something that is attention grabbing, boosted by rich visuals (as opposed to lengthy text on a screen), with a simple progression that directs the customer to follow your desired call to action, can propel consumers to either act or at least take notice.

Keys for an effective direct mailing strategy, in terms of the actual materials being sent (according to the Data & Marketing Association):

Be bold.
We have short attention spans. Marketing that cuts through the clutter with attention-getting graphics and copy more apt to gain and hold that attention.

Visuals rule.
In fact, the brain processes visuals exponentially faster than the time it takes the brain to decode text. Well used imagery can quickly get your piece noticed, and your message across.

Keep it simple.
Direct mail that creates a simple decision path with limited copy and explanation always tests better.

Furthermore, in an industry that finds immense value in data, direct mail can be directly measurable.

The United States Postal Service is an integral part of our country’s overall mailing industry. In fact, because it can deliver mail to every address (Every Door Direct Mail), companies like UPS and FedEx often piggyback off of its services. This is important because the USPS is able to constantly measure how much mail is coming and going, what kind of mail is being sent, and even whether or not people are reading their mail.

The United States Postal Service almost does the work for marketing researchers.

A large part of this is accomplished by the Household Diary Study (HDS), a survey that’s been conducted by the USPS since 1987. The metrics from this survey can provide insight to companies trying to make the most of their direct mail efforts. These metrics include total mail sent and received by households based on different demographics ranging from the age and size of households, education and income levels, and access to the Internet. According to this survey, in 2016 advertising mail represented 62 percent of all mail sent and received by households (about 79 billion pieces of mail). The culmination of this data, paired with the insights of mobile and big-data , make it possible for your company to appropriately and accurately determine how best to approach consumers.

Advertising Mail Received by Income and Education (Pieces per Household per Week)

Advertising Mail Received by Income and Age (Pieces per Household per Week)

“73 percent of households either read or scan advertising mail received”

Ok, but what about the cost?

In terms of how cost-effective direct mail can be, it depends on how you decide to approach it. It can be expensive, especially if you’re sending out large catalogs chalk full of visuals and designs that require professional work such as copywriters, photographers, designers and printers. Opting for First Class mail (which means reaching your customers faster) can also bump the price up, but because of how flexible direct mail can be in general, it’s a cost-effective strategy that can be tailor made to fit any budget.

Contact us to learn more about how Direct Mail marketing can boost your prospecting.

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Our thoughts and prayers to our friends, colleagues, and partners affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

The Impacts of Hurricane Harvey

Governor Greg Abbott of Texas is calling the storm one of the largest disasters America has faced. Our hearts go out to anyone who is affected by the storm. We, and our partner, MCH Strategic Data, will continue to monitor the situation.

MCH has identified the zip codes of affected schools and buildings in the area. Our account and relationship managers will also keep you abreast of potential interrupted mail services by the United States Postal Service.

For more information on how Hurricane Harvey impacts mail delivery, visit the USPS web page or call 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) to obtain information, including available, alternate Post Office retail locations.

The Impacts of Hurricane Irma

On the heels of Hurricane Harvey, the United States is preparing for yet another tropical storm likely to affect the state of Florida. Hurricane Irma is expected to bring devastating winds to much of the state, regardless of the exact track of the center.

As a result of the storm, USPS operations have ceased in certain zip codes. The situation may also impact email delivery to institutions located within those areas. We will be monitoring daily updates provided by the USPS.

When available, we will have a suppression file of the affected zip codes if you are planning on mailing to institutions in the area.

We also encourage you to monitor the daily updates provided by the USPS by visiting the link below, and clicking on the “Mail Service Disruption Report”  link on the right.

http://about.usps.com/news/service-alerts/business-weather-updates.htm


The Power of Mobile Data in a Data-Centric World

Modern marketing is fully embracing the explosive emergence of mobile-based consumer data. Because of its ability to capture a more accurate snapshot of when consumers are seeking out a particular company–or its products and services–mobile data has created a step-change in how marketers are crafting and delivering their message. Consumers are seeing this change manifest itself into today’s highest performing omnichannel strategies; which is connecting them with the right message, through the right channel, and most critically… at the right time.

It’s estimated that by 2020 more than 80 percent of adults worldwide will have mobile devices. This is going to continue to drive up social media usage, increased families with multiple devices, and even more data for marketers to utilize to better connect with consumers. Smartphones and tablets have given consumers real strength in terms of providing them with multiple platforms to access businesses, for finding information on products and services, and to even purchase those items.

 

What Do the Numbers Say?

How much data the world currently uses is creeping up, rising from 7 exabytes per month in 2016 to 11 exabytes per month in 2017, with a predicted increase to 17 exabytes per month in 2018 (one exabyte is one quintillion bytes). However, that number could increase exponentially to 49 exabytes per month in 2021.

 

 

 

 

 

According to a survey developed by App Annie, worldwide app downloads in 2016 exceeded 90 billion (an increase of more than 13 billion). During this time, the number of hours that consumers spent using these apps boomed by more than 150 billion hours to almost 900 billion hours. While this will add an incredible amount of data for marketers to sift through, it will also lead to more accurate, relevant marketing lists that will allow businesses to reach out and connect with consumers at the right time, in the right way.

 

“Increasing the quality of sales leads, improving the quality of sales lead data, improving prospecting list accuracy, territory planning, win rates and decision maker engagement strategies are all areas where big data is making a contribution to sales today.” said Forbes’ Contributor Louis Columbus.

 

What Does This Mean For Marketers?

What this information will allow marketers to do is to gain better insight into when, where, and how consumers are spending money. It also empowers businesses with the means to evaluate the performance of their product and services in the market; such as determining pricing and placement.

The number of devices consumers have access to is increasing; the number of apps being downloaded and the time spent on them is increasing; and marketing dollars used in the mobile space are increasing; all because of how quickly consumers are incorporating new technology into their lives. Generation Z is being raised with devices in their hands while millennials perpetually push technology and app trends (such as boosting Instagram, Facebook, Twitter to new heights). It has become obvious that with such an integration of technology into our daily lives, marketers are going to be inundated with information about its consumers from across multiple channels in order to connect with them with relevant and timely offers.

The Emergence of Life Event Marketing

It has become apparent that the insights from mobile data can provide businesses with opportunities for identifying when consumers are experiencing a significant life event. If a particular consumer has entered into a fairly monumental life phase (which usually involves large, complex purchases) chances are they’re using several apps or platforms to access the products and services associated with these events. This is valuable information for marketers, which is reflected in a study conducted by Royal Mail Data Services. In 2014, only 15 percent of marketers surveyed saw life events as a new sales opportunity, 32 percent surveyed said those events provided a reason to engage with customers. In just a year, those numbers jumped to 50 percent and 70 percent, respectively, indicating how marketers were viewing these particular moments to connect with consumers.

Contact us to learn more about how mobile insights can improve your marketing.

Click here to learn more

 


Data Protection & Data Protection Day

Many are not aware that January 28th is celebrated internationally as Data Protection Day. It really shouldn’t come as a surprise as current day data breaches are costing companies an average of $4 million, according to a CNBC article referencing a 2016 IBM Security report. That equates to roughly $158 per lost or stolen record. Ouch!

National List Services takes data security very seriously. We only acquire data that is legally and ethically available, and diligently steward that data to the end-user. We also take great care in protecting house data uploaded to our count system at www.nationallistcounts.com for suppression.

National List Count suppressions are protected by multiple layers of security that not only ensure the data is secure externally, but internally as well. National List Services and its employees are unable to access the data in it’s original form. Beyond using Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology to encrypt information sent from your browser to the count system, data uploads are additionally encrypted with match-keys that are generated in real-time, and only those match-keys are stored. Data in its original form, is discarded. Additionally, there is absolutely zero Personally Identifiably Information (PII) kept.


National List Counts January API Release Info

In past months, we added to National List Counts–www.nationalalistcounts.com–a few exciting, new capabilities that will allow users better define count universes, enhance the user experience, specify and secure order outputs. 

The Release includes:

·         Asynchronous Count Requests

·         Upload Codes

·         Custom Layout

·         DriveTime Radius

·         Order File Encryption

·         Merge Count Feature Improvements

Asynchronous Count Requests

Using National List Counts, you can now submit asynchronous count requests that allow you to add complex use cases into your application without impacting user workflow and user experience. Previously, in the case of complex use cases, users had to wait for the count result to return without being able to perform other tasks.

Upload Codes

This feature allows to define a count structure in a text document and push it to National List Counts. The main advantage of this feature uploading millions of codes in the archived simple structure for unlimited use in future counts. That opens up the ability to operate on the level of ZIPs, ZIPCRRT, ZIP9 codes or even record IDs to deal with an exactly defined universe.

Custom Layout

National List Counts now allows you to fine tune a Custom Layout for any placed order that leads to data delivery to a client. Previously, the ability to manipulate with the layout in National List Count’s orders was limited and required special setup for each predefined layout.

DriveTime Radius

DriveTime further extends the Radius feature and allows you to get the closest records to a location based on travel time.

Order File Encryption

 This feature allows you to encrypt your order file with your own key to ensure another layer of data security.

Merge Count Feature Improvements

The National List Count’s Merge Count feature was further enhanced to provide more flexibility. It includes an option to request faster counts without providing a breakdown by parts. It also supports optional breakdowns by any allowed selection similar to regular counts and provides the ability to operate with Query Builder counts as parts of a Merge count.

These features are released as a free enhancement and will be available to all users!

Contact us for more information or for help getting started.