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.

Click here to learn more