Five Reasons Why Marketers Are Waking Up To Direct Mail
29th Oct 2018
By Robert Beyer
Head of Operations and Procurement
I noticed something interesting about our sales figures last financial year that is worth sharing. Even though we operate in a strongly digital environment at mmw3degrees, revenue from mail increased by 12% in 2017-18. This isn’t the trend that many were expecting, and research shows that our customers aren’t alone in turning to mail to engage with their customers and generate strong results for their businesses. Here’s why:
1. Direct mail gives you a new level of engagement
When customers have your mailing in their hands, they have something real to touch. They physically open it – the DMA Response Rate Report 2017 indicates that 92% of recipients open direct mail. Then they keep it around – up to 38 days according to the TSA. There are seemingly endless possibilities for creative executions that will capture your customers’ imagination and engage their senses. No doubt this is why direct mail has been shown to be so persuasive – a Canada Post study found direct mail has 20% more ability to motivate customers than digital media.
Direct mail is also incredibly memorable. Once your customers have opened your mail pack, the same Canada Post study found brand recall to be significantly higher than with digital media.
2. High response rates that are increasing with time
Not only does mail get a better response than other channels, those response rates are actually increasing year on year. The DMA Report gives average response rates of 2.9% with prospect lists and 5.1% with in-house data. Two years before, the equivalent response rates were 1.0% and 3.7%. This is likely to be related to our ability to better target our customers as our technology evolves. Let’s not forget the fact that you can easily purchase quality prospect lists for direct mail, allowing you to reach new customers directly.
3. Direct mail gives you cut through
Our inboxes are overcrowded, with 74% of people feeling overwhelmed by their emails. Whereas an email may get overlooked or deleted, a well-targeted and well-designed mailing piece will stand out. I’m seeing a trend toward higher-end custom-made pieces and creative solutions that go way beyond the traditional letter and envelope. Marketers have the tools to hand to use their data to ensure the right creative reaches the right person at the right time, putting the last nail in the coffin of junk mail pieces that are thrown away or ignored.
4. People trust direct mail
In the era of Donald Trump and fake news, it has become clear that people trust traditional media over digital. A study by Marketing Sherpa reveals that 76% of consumers trust direct mail when they are making a purchasing decision. The least trusted channel? Pop-up ads, trusted by only 25%. We all know that trust is the basis of any relationship and no doubt that that is what gives mail its unique ability to engage with customers, gain cut-through and generate a great response.
5. Mail is even more powerful when combined with digital
Let’s be clear, I’m not suggesting you throw out your digital toolbox and focus only on mail for 2019. The two need to work together for maximum effectiveness. Another Canadian study has shown that brand recall is 40% higher when emails are followed by direct mail. International Post Corporation research indicates that 44% of consumers who receive direct mail from an online retailer say that they made a purchase as a result. Used in combination, mail and digital will support each other to deliver the best results.