THE FUTURE OF DIRECT MAIL.
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It’s not news that we live in a media saturated world. Smartphones are part of everyday life and research has showed that we spend up to an entire day every week online. In addition, we are exposed to up to a whopping 5,000 adverts every day.
Marketing obviously plays a huge part in this digital world. So many different forms of media are cleverly crafted ways of pushing products, maybe without us even realising it. Content marketing, such as that podcast or video which went viral, are all ways of reaching customers yet providing that all-important factor of usefulness. This is what differentiates it from a blatant sell.
Digital is the future
It could be that we are aching for the days when our lives were not so digitally led. There has been a decline in the sale of e-books recently, as we favour going back to old-fashioned print. More people are turning off their social media, whether temporarily or otherwise. The digital detox is a popular concept as we voluntarily stop spending time staring and swiping at small screens. Instead, we want authenticity and we like holding real stuff in our hands. Direct mail ticks that box.
Tim Lindsey, CEO and D&AD, said: “ The more digital our lives become the more we want a balance.”
This is why the future of direct mail is certain. It can come back into its own as a valuable part of the marketing mix. Direct mail could be the digital detox which we’re all craving. However, in 2019, direct mail isn’t about posting a leaflet through someone’s door and hoping for the best. It’s about using this offline marketing tool as part of a succinct strategy which incorporates online channels too.
The ‘new’ digital
The marketing mix has diversified hugely since direct mail was one of the only choices for promotional purposes. Digital channels are commonplace now, but they shouldn’t stand still either. To really move with the times, explore new marketing channels, for example podcasts, or using current channels in a different way, such as Instagram Stories or IGTV.
That rich digital marketing activity will give you a huge amount of data on who your customers are, what they interact with, what resonates with them and what doesn’t. For example, consider split testing your email marketing campaign. Then, use the most successful and engaging features to design and build your direct mail campaign. Or, use digital channels to find the customers who would want something from you to drop on to their doormat – as long as it is GDPR compliant, of course. That knowledge has got to help you up your chances of generating conversions. Research from Royal Mail shows that ROI is increased by 12% when direct mail is included in the marketing mix.
Direct mail does not act in silo to other types of marketing. It is pretty standard for printed materials to encourage a reader to visit a company’s website or social media channels. For example, a holiday brochure may push people to a website to find out the latest prices and availability. Or, a leaflet could include a discount code for an online purchase.
Take that one step further and consider how AR is creating a seamless customer journey between offline and online. The novelty of AR can work wonders in marketing. Research has found that it can capture people’s attention for over 85 seconds, increase interaction rates by 20% and improve click-through rates by 33%. It will also be particularly effective if it is problem-solving, such as this clever virtual makeup try-on which lets you see what colours will suit you before making a purchase. Marry it up with a free sample sent in the post and you’re on to a winner – 69% of people will open a letter which includes a promotion or a special offer.
In summary, direct mail may be a little more expensive in both time and money than its modern counterparts of online marketing. However, in a digital environment when much of that online marketing becomes white noise, or simply annoying, direct mail provides the cut-through which your company may need to smash those sales targets.
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