Direct Mail Is Not Dead

To borrow a line from Mark Twain, “the reports of the death of direct mail have been greatly exaggerated.” The perceived low cost and instant gratification of email marketing has enticed many companies to shift marketing dollars away from direct mail and into email campaigns. A closer look at what direct mail does deliver may have you adopting the contrarian view that direct mail is not dead.

The Benefits of Direct Mail

At first glance, sending an email seems to be a cheaper alternative, but when you calculate ROI, direct mail can come out ahead. With targeted B2B direct mail, the average response rate is a little over 4%; email is only .12%.

The perceived low cost of email translates into a slew of unwanted messages flooding your computer every day. The advent of spammers, phishing scams, hackers spreading computer crippling viruses and the sheer noise of unwanted appeals has made consumers more wary of messages delivered via email. An Epsilon Targeting study found that 25% of consumers found direct mail offers more trustworthy than email offers.

Maintaining campaign continuity of multiple touches to the same audience can be challenging with email. Since it only takes a few clicks to set up a free email boxes, most people have several active email addresses; not to mention the trail of abandoned email boxes. Conversely, people usually don’t change their mailing addresses as frequently and if they do, the USPS can provide you with the new address. Direct mail data lists can provide demographic information for a single person, but can provide a picture about the entire household. Data aggregators can provide details about household income, family members and their ages, purchasing history and hobbies. Information about targeted prospects can also be overlayed with geographic demographics or neighborhood characteristics to help identify other nearby prospects.

When they say “we deliver,” the USPS is not kidding. The post office guarantees delivery of every item. Nothing is rejected because the mailbox is full. There’s no spam filter or blacklist that prevents your mailing from being received. Once in the hands of your prospect, 79% of consumers say they act on direct mail immediately; compared to just 45% of email recipients. For many people, going through their mail is an enjoyable daily ritual. There’s always the possibility of a personal letter or card, or even a much anticipated package. Fifty six percent of consumers rank print marketing to be the most trustworthy type. Direct mail actively engages the senses and experience of sight and touch. It’s one of the few marketing methods that physically puts your message into a prospect’s hands.

Surprisingly, young adults under 24, who are constantly immersed in the online world, are one of the age groups that is more likely to respond to direct mail. QR codes and NFC technology, makes it possible for these young prospects to directly connect with a website or coupon download.