As lockdowns drag on and consumers spend more time at home, publishers are continuing to lean in to direct mail to engage their audience … and they are finding creative new ways to make it happen.
“Publishers know Americans are going to be hunkered down at home for another few months of coronavirus-created isolation,” writes Max Willens in Digiday, “so some of them are hoping to drive more revenue by going right through readers’ front doors.”
Those doors are especially attractive to direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands, and many are helping their DTC advertisers create direct mail campaigns.
“Over the past few months, The Los Angeles Times has been pitching direct mail and custom publishing campaigns to media agencies focused on DTC brands,” Willens writes. “In January, Texas Monthly relaunched its custom publishing division, offering direct mail and custom publishing as part of an expanded array of services it’s hoping can attract more national advertisers; and even Group Nine Media has been focused on finding more ways to drive incremental revenue and value through product sampling and branded boxes, delivered via its service Box’d and a new food delivery business in New York City.”
It’s really a perfect fit — local and regional publishers partnering with locally-based businesses to deliver a local audience the things they need. And it’s causing many brands to take a fresh look at direct mail and its potential.
“While many publishers have spent years trying to reduce their reliance on (and the cost of) legacy print businesses, the spread of coronavirus has opened up a narrow window for publishers to capitalize on them again,” Willens writes.
I believe that the window is opening wider; as consumers look to escape the digital grind, in-home direct mail is seeing higher engagement potential. With response rates typically higher than digital campaigns, the pandemic is giving a lot of DTC brands the perfect reason to try direct mail for the first time, according to Justin Bronce at media agency ForwardPMX. Meanwhile, their existing DM clients are seeing solid results.
“All of [those] clients are up 20, 25% [in direct mail-driven revenue] over last year,” Bronce said.
Direct mail is enjoying a resurgence in popularity that continued from last year. It’s quite likely that leaning in to direct mail will be more than a passing fancy. Real results are hard to argue with.