Here’s our agency’s point of view on how Direct Mail is still relevant in the modern mix.
Many marketers have long predicted the death of direct mail. For them, it was only a matter of time once smartphones, email, video marketing and social media became popular.
You can’t blame them for making that prediction. Over the years, there have been many nails in the DM coffin, for instance:
- Apple launched the first iPhone in 2007 and the world changed
- From 2007 to 2008, smartphone sales jumped 70% to $8.7 billion
- Transactional mail volume in Canada dropped for the first time ever
- Volume continued to drop, falling to 8.3 billion pieces by 2017 (down from 11.8 billion)
- Postage and printing prices rose, as did the number of internet users
But in spite of these staggering milestones and statistics, something happened that no one predicted:
Direct Mail response rates actually rose in the past 10 years!1
Crazy, right? Here’s what happened:
As mail volume plummeted, so did mailbox clutter, making it easier to stand out with great creative. And thanks to better data collection, analytics and testing, direct mail became more personal – and relevant – than ever. That’s why today, we now live in an era of greater response rates and less waste.
We’re also seeing something new. Brand marketers are feeling that the shine of a fast and low-cost digital-only approach is losing its luster with diminishing response rates. They’re also giving pause to the challenges that come with digital, such as ad fraud, no control over the sites in which ads are served, and of course privacy and data breaches.
So why don’t marketers do more direct mail? Four factors are to blame:
- Higher production costs
- Increased postage costs
- Longer time to market
- Too many moving parts
That’s where we take over and remind our clients of the following fact: consumers and businesses value it.
- Direct Mail is more trusted than most other media
- With digital and social media near the bottom of the scale2
- 75% of people distrust pop-up ads2
- 74% of people feel overwhelmed by email3
- Direct Mail is far more persuasive than digital media
- Mail’s “motivation response” is 20% higher than digital’s4
- Direct Mail is more memorable and easier to understand4
- It requires 21% less cognitive effort to process than digital media
- It elicits a much higher level of brand recall than with digital
- Direct Mail is more tangible than most other media
- Direct mail doesn’t come with a “Delete” button – it sticks around
- It can engage all 5 senses, making your message more meaningful
- Direct Mail is more personal than other forms of media
- There’s a certain “romanticism” associated with receiving mail
- 73% of people say direct mail is their preferred advertising method5
- Over 55% say they feel more valued when they receive direct mail5
And unlike most other media, direct mail:
- Gets better response rates than other channels6
- Allows marketers to target more effectively
- Leverages predictive modeling for a better ROI
- Reaches all Canadians (20% of seniors still aren’t online7)
- Surpasses ‘friends and family’ as a top purchase influencer8
- Boosts brand awareness, even if there’s no response
Most importantly, direct mail integrates perfectly with digital – it doesn’t have to be one or the other. So, with the pendulum swinging back to a multi-channel (and even omni-channel) approach, it is our opinion that direct mail’s performance will remain the cornerstone for smart marketers well into the future.
With that in mind, is it any wonder why more marketers are returning to the mailbox?
1 DMA 2017 Response Rate Report
2 MarketingSherpa 2017
3 Survey by Edison Software 2017
4 A Bias for Action – Canada Post and True Impact Marketing
5 Source: Compu-Mail 2018
6 Data & Marketing Association (DMA)
7 Source: StatsCan 2018
8 Source: MarketingCharts