Why Direct Mail Is Still Relevant

03/08/2016

Why Direct Mail Is Still Relevant

Why, in this day of digital technology, is direct mail a viable tool for a marketer? The fact is – today, according to the Direct Marketing Association, every $1 spent on direct marketing yields, on average, $12.03 in sales revenue. That’s an ROI any marketer would love to achieve!

So why is it that I sometimes hear from marketers, “We’re moving away from direct mail and focusing strictly online?” Is it because their direct mail campaigns fell flat? Did they not achieve their desired results? Were they mailing quantity – not quality?

There’s no doubt today’s consumers are savvy and have a plethora of mediums spewed upon them daily – many of which present an “opt-out” option. Digital marketers will tell you that direct mail is an interruption in someone’s space (like getting a call the split second you download a white paper isn’t?). They’ll further tell you it’s old school and some may even say it’s junk mail.  I beg to differ!

Direct mail, when done right, is far from junk mail. In fact, 73% of consumers prefer direct mail and consider it the ‘most trusted’ marketing channel, according to Epsilon’s 2012 Channel Preference Study.

So what’s the disconnect?

Could it be that marketers jumped on the online bandwagon, without this knowledge of consumers’ preference?  Could it be that marketers didn’t know about the latest direct response technologies, which can triple response rates and then some?

Today’s marketers need to be sharp. They’re constantly analyzing and measuring results, and always looking for the most comprehensive method with the highest return.  They do so while keeping a keen eye on budget. But can one marketing department (or individual) be an expert on everything? From all the forms of traditional outbound marketing to inbound marketing, from social to mobile, segmentation and data modeling, metrics and retargeting, addressable digital ads, etc.  That’s a lot of marketing for one department, or individual, to gain expertise.

“For marketers to be successful, they need to understand their consumers and communicate with them in a meaningful and relevant manner. This takes deep insight, sophisticated analytics and segmentation,” according to Warren Storey, Epsilon’s Senior Vice President.

It all starts with the data for your campaign. What is the mailing list and what unique identifiers within the list can be used in your personalized communication methods? Is it targeted to the ideal audience that mirrors your customer base through data modeling of your current customers? Or are you going back to your customer base for up-selling or cross-selling – yet neglecting to use the data you’ve collected to speak to them on a 1:1 basis? What imagery are you utilizing that would be relevant to each individual recipient?

These are the types of things that can and should be employed for any direct mail campaign – personalization through copy and imagery on each and every mail piece.  Personalized URL’s, personalized QR’s, mobile microsites, marrying direct mail prospect files with online personas for an exact match, repeating the message by delivering digital ads to your audience – these are the conduits that drive action and response further.  It all adds up to a comprehensive campaign; a direct marketing campaign that drives response and results sky high.  And it all starts with direct mail.