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Direct Mail: The Comeback Kid

We’ve noticed quite a phenomenon in the last six months. Direct Mail has been proving to be quite the star when it comes to cut-through in our clients’ campaigns. Really? What – snail mail? Junk mail. Yes, physical mail. But its speed is irrelevant (same day delivery is perfectly possible nowadays anyway) and it is anything but junk.

In a world where we expect all brand and product promotions to come through a screen, or device, we have become adept at tuning them out. Not surprising when over a billion business emails are now sent and received each day, and 433,000 tweets are posted every MINUTE. You certainly can’t argue about digital’s reach. And it’s cheap. Cheaper equals more emails, which in turn equals more noise.

And if we don’t tune them out, they’re certainly not welcome: 21% of recipients report email as spam, even if they know it isn’t!So how on earth do you achieve standout for your communications and your brand?

The answer could lie in those time-honoured “traditional” marketing methods that many agencies and marketers have turned their back on today, regarding them as “old school”. Or who are influenced by the negative press direct mail is still receiving, based on horror stories of mass, unsolicited, doormat deluges and carpet-bombing in the 90s.

But does old school mean old hat? Absolutely not. Traditional, non-digital marketing methods are alive and kicking. In fact they’re kicking butt:

· 92% of young shoppers say they prefer direct mail for making purchasing decisions. Source: Compu-Mail

· 74% of B2B marketers rate direct mail as very effective. Source: Business 2 Community

· 79% of consumers will act on direct mail immediately (the same can be said for only 45% when it comes to email). Source: DMA

· Young adults, 24 years and younger, are among the most direct mail responsive Source: Compu-Mail

· 56% of customers find print marketing to be the most trustworthy type of marketing. Source: Compu-Mail

· 40% of consumers try new businesses after receiving direct mail. Source: Compu-Mail

· 80% say they can remember a piece of direct mail sent to them in the last four weeks. Source: MarketReach

· 69% said they opened a piece of direct mail that day. Source: MarketReach

· When mail is included in the marketing mix, ROI can increase by 12%. Source: MarketReach

Now read that last bullet again. “When mail is included in the marketing mix”. This is not a case of Digital vs Traditional. This is about using the right mix of marketing methods to achieve the best results.Last year, IKEA proved brilliantly that online and offline can work harmoniously together to increase the impact of both.

Mailcraft’s Private Life of Mail study earlier this year revealed that physical mail creates a strong emotional response as well as a rational one. It also has a more powerful effect on long-term memory encoding – 32% higher than email, 72% higher than TV and 63% of respondents said they were more likely to take mail seriously (only 18% said the same of email).

But direct mail campaigns are not cheap and they take time to develop and produce. It’s important therefore to make sure you consider some basic marketing principles before you start.

5 considerations for your next Direct Mail Campaign

1. Audience

a. Understand who you’re targeting and whether they are receptive to this form of communication. In general, the stronger your relationship with your customer, the more likely you are to get a response. So for the best ROI, use it on warm prospects or regular customers and test cold lists to learn.

2. Data

a. This is critical. It’s what makes your campaigns ultra targeted. It’s also what makes your carefully crafted direct mail piece go to waste if your customer information is out of date or inaccurate. Remember too that the deeper the insight you have, the more relevant you can make your message, design or incentive.

3. Content

a. With clear insight from your data, you will have guidance as to the type of content that will deliver the best response. And don’t forget your call to action – be absolutely clear about what you want people to do.

4. Creative

a. An A5 postcard may not always cut the mustard. Direct mail has huge scope for creativity in format, material, design and personalisation. This is what will give it stand-out, make it memorable, elicit that emotional response and inspire your customer into action.

5. Tactile

a. Strictly speaking this comes under creative, but it’s given its own section here because you should never underestimate how much impact is made by the ability to touch and to hold a piece of physical mail. The Private Life of Mail study found that people value something they can see and touch 24% more than something they can only see.

6. Alignment

a. Make sure your direct mail campaigns form part of the bigger business picture and integrates across your other communication channels. Campaigns with mail were shown to drive market share growth with three times the efficiency of those without (Private Life of Mail).

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Logixal Document Solutions Ltd. is an independent supplier of IT and Managed Print Solutions

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