Direct Mail Is Dead…Liar, Liar Pants On Fire!

April 28, 2022 • Posted by DM20

3 things you can do to reel back dollars gone to digital.

When you hear your customers tell you that they’re taking their direct mail budget and putting it into a digital campaign, it’s hard not to feel a little outdated. We’re talking floppy disk, rotary phone, “I need to get off the internet because my wife wants to make a phone call” outdated. Marketers continue to challenge direct mail and ask “Where does print fit in my digital sales funnel?” As an industry, it’s imperative for us to acknowledge that direct mail is a versatile medium that can not only survive, but thrive in the digital age.

This won’t come as a surprise to anyone but the future of direct mail lies in digital integration. Instead of asking businesses to choose between print and digital, it’s time to show them that they can and should do both print and digital. By using both print and digital communication channels, you can deliver the number of impressions necessary to cut through the clutter. Consumers are now exposed to 10,000 marketing messages per day and retain only 100 to 150 of those messages – it’s no wonder why 80% of sales happen between the eighth and twelfth touch considering we have a .015% ad retention rate!

Direct mail by itself is a powerful way to stand out, but by adding social and digital advertising touches before and after the mailing, you can exponentially increase impressions and in turn, responses. The average response rate of direct mail retargeting hovers between 9-18%, could you imagine getting those results from digital advertising alone?

As if this wasn’t enough of an obstacle to overcome, as an industry we’re now facing unprecedented postage increases. It’s a tough conversation to have with your customers when you have to tell them that their exact same mailing will cost upwards of seven percent more just due to postage increases.

One way to effectively help mitigate the postage increase is to use the USPS Emerging & Advanced Technologies Promotion. For example, by integrating Informed Delivery® into a mailing, you can receive a two percent postage discount. Not only is this a great way to decrease costs, but Informed Delivery® is also an excellent way to add another critical touchpoint with consumers. With Informed Delivery® now at over 33 million subscribers and seeing consistent open rates of 65%, it’s incredibly effective to double the impressions of your mail piece and add a digital component to your direct mail campaigns.

With increasing postage it’s also essential to be targeted when it comes to who is included on a mailing list. It’s time to steer customers away from a traditional cost per piece mentality and focus instead on the cost per result. The formula for direct mail success used to be “Mail to as many people as you can, someone has to be interested.” Wouldn’t you rather mail to people you know are interested in your product or service? Trimming the fat off of large mailing lists will lead to more effective and efficient campaigns. House lists are an excellent place to start and oftentimes your client will already have a readymade list of previous customers and identified leads to mail to. Taking it a step further, with a little bit of data analysis, you can identify commonalities in this list and select prime prospects through a purchased list to expand the campaign’s reach. With advanced targeting techniques will you start seeing direct mail pieces show up in your mailbox for a new exercise bike because you mentioned wanting to work out near your phone? Probably not. Will you receive a postcard in the mail for a new roof because your house was built 25 years ago and your neighbors just got their roof redone? Quite possibly.

The personalization of direct mail is also crucial for future campaign success. With the adoption of laser printing, customized mailers are now an affordable and widely-available option for direct mail campaigns. When it comes to customization we aren’t talking about just adding their name to the mailer, but consciously tailoring the mailer’s design to facilitate the buying journey for the consumer. This can be accomplished by including the information they need to complete their order and designing the mailer based on what they were shopping for. The caveat with customization is that the success of customized direct mail retargeting lies in speed. Setting a goal of getting the mail out and on its way to consumers within 24-48 hours of their online interaction with a brand is ideal.

While this past decade has seen a shift in budget allocations with marketers dumping dollars into digital, direct mail still works and is an integral part of any multi- channel marketing campaign. We can’t forget that the allure of direct mail in part lies in the tactile experience it offers and by being a physical piece of marketing in a consumer’s hands, direct mail has a tangibility that digital advertising lacks. It’s also worth noting that as we come out of the pandemic, we are in the throes of digital fatigue and crave tactile, screen-free experiences.

In the most recent study, ROI To Sender from MAGA, 72% of adults describe themselves as giving “moderate to high” levels of attention to their mail, and only seven percent describe it as low. People are also spending more time looking at their mail. The average time spent opening and reading mail increased from an average of 5.8 minutes to more than 8.6 minutes per day. Notably, millennials spent the most time opening and reading mail at 9.5 minutes.

Wait, aren’t millennials the ones that pushed us into the digital era? Do you remember when email was new and every email notification you got caught your attention? The pendulum has swung back the other way and print now has the novelty that email once possessed. By being smart marketers you can capitalize on this, taking the best of both worlds and bring direct mail and digital together for more impactful campaigns.

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Republished from NPSOA Magazine