Direct mail isn’t dead, despite opinions to the contrary. Rather, it is undergoing a Renaissance. Many businesses are returning to direct mail marketing or incorporating it as part of an integrated marketing campaign, aligning it with digital marketing channels. Here are three great reasons to use direct mail.
1. Direct Mail Is Personal
Printing techniques have evolved to enable customization of direct mail that makes it both personal and targeted. Gone are the days of “dear occupant” letters. Instead, mailers can address letters to the recipient and even target the offer to the intended recipient, depending upon how the mailing list database is set up. Personal offers and appeals, even personalized gifts with purchase can be tested, measured, and used to boost response rates. Personalization is the number one reason why direct mail remains a popular marketing tactics.
2. Direct Mail Is Competitive
The U.S. Post Office shipped 79.5 billion pieces of advertising mail in 2012 compared to 103.5 billion in 2007, according to their website. Although that seems like a huge amount of mail, consider how many television, internet, radio and magazine ads customers are exposed to daily. They may receive two or three advertising pieces in any given day; chances are good that they will see 10, 20 or 30 times that many ads or more on other marketing channels.
With less direct mail arriving in the mailbox, businesses have a better opportunity of standing out with clever, attractively designed direct mail pieces. The International Journal of Research in Marketing published a paper in 2011 stating that direct mail creative design accounts for 10 to 25 percent of campaign success. (Feld, S., et al., The effects of mailing design characteristics on direct mail campaign performance, Intern. J. of Research in Marketing, 2012). Investing in professional creative design for your direct mail piece appears to boost open and response rates.
3. Direct Mail Is Effective
Direct mail remains a very effective form of direct response marketing. The Direct Marketing Association published a report in June 2012 stating that the response rate for direct mail is 4.4 percent compared to direct response email marketing, which achieves an average response rate of 0.12 percent. While it is true that the cost per piece or cost per contact for direct mail is higher than that of email, the return on investment may also be higher, depending upon the price point of what is being sold and the costs to produce the mailer. When all things are equal, direct mail continues to outperform email.
Direct Mail Remains Competitive for Certain Market Segments
Lastly, direct mail remains a strong marketing tactic to reach specific market segments. Wealthy consumers continue to respond to direct mail pieces, taking the time to read long form copy and respond to offers for luxury products. Niche markets, including hobby and special interest markets, respond well to well-targeted product offers, especially offers for products they cannot find easily in stores. With a good mailing list, expertly designed mail piece, and an appealing offer, direct mail continues to be an effective marketing channel.
Direct mail isn’t dead. It remains a viable, effective marketing channel for many businesses.