All the cool kids are doing it. Google uses direct mail to send promos for Ad Words. Amazon’s doing it; even Facebook is turning to direct mail, hoping it will help get them out of hot water caused by all their fake ads.
Yep, direct mail is still around, and in many ways, it’s more effective than ever.
“Supporters of digital media will say why drain your marketing budget on direct mail campaigns that nobody reads when you can contact your customers using the channels they prefer — television, social media, and mobile?” writes Heidi Tolliver-Walker in Ink on Paper.
“However, the latest data makes a strong case for printed direct mail,” she continues. “Sure, social media and mobile marketing are on the rise. But that doesn’t mean that customers aren’t responding to direct mail or that this channel is losing its effectiveness. That’s just plain false.”
Given that brands like Amazon, Google and Facebook have mountains of data to help them judge ROI and understand where to put their money, they surely recognize some key features of direct mail that make it an exceptional strategy in specific use cases.
Tolliver-Walker spells out eight of them:
- Direct mail doesn’t require opt-in;
- It won’t get caught in a spam filter;
- DM remains effective long after it lands;
- It’s still effective even if the original target has moved on;
- There little competition for attention;
- It gains more traction that digital;
- Direct mail can reach high-level decision makers; and
- It’s not just a supplement to social and mobile marketing; it actually drives campaigns.
She cites the 2015 DMA Response Rate Report that showed us just how big an impact direct mail can have, outperforming other channels by an impressive 600%:
Sure, digital has its place. Still, it’s increasingly apparent that it’s not an either/or situation. The science of neuromarketing is telling us why print outperforms digital in our brains, and the impact of big data on mail marketing is fascinating. And the big name brands that are using it should make us all take a closer look.
Direct mail is cool again.