In marketing, to be successful, it is important to find the right tools for the task. Different objectives are best served by marketing activity most appropriate to each of them. This appropriateness can be difficult to gauge at a time when digital marketing channels offer so much choice.
In this light, is direct mail still effective and do customers actually prefer it?
The Overstuffed Inbox
“Many people feel they get too many emails, and with ever-increasing traffic into inboxes, marketing emails are really having to compete for the customer’s attention,” suggests John Bardsley, MD of Stockport-based, Heaton Press.
“Are people more likely to sort through their physical mail than their email, where they can simply select and delete?” continues John. “The very fact that email has revolutionised marketing could make direct mail work to your advantage because tactically you’re competing in a different arena.”
The figures speak for themselves, according to Royal Mail statistics. Over 20 million adults take action as a result of the direct mail they receive.
The Tactile Factor
The research specialists at FastMAP report that nine out of ten people open their direct mail. How this mail is packaged and presented can really help encourage this.
“The physical nature of direct mail means you can be inventive with your marketing, whether it’s the use of colour, graphics or fonts to intrigue or prompt recognition,” John states. “Direct mail is open to experimentation in the form of bulkier, more substantial packaging, and including freebies such as stickers or pens.”
“Marketing is about standing out from the competition and direct mail offers plenty of opportunity to do this”
Trust and Getting Inside the Front Door
“Direct mail can put your presence on the kitchen table, delivering a sales pitch in the home, without you standing on the front doorstep,” says John. With email you’re competing for attention in a very different way than if your mail is actually opened and then looked at.”
“A strong sales approach is one that connects powerfully and personally with your prospect,” John explains.
“The chances are the person opening your direct mail will do so when they get home and they have the time to do so. This is the perfect opportunity for you to appeal to them, to talk directly to them and capture their train of thought”
“There’s the whole issue of trust here,” suggests John. “How much more reassuring is direct communication using mail? You’re not asking anyone to click on a link to find out more, or to give up any personal information electronically.”
“Direct mail seems slower, more considered than email and other forms of digital marketing”, concludes John. “But this can work to its advantage, making your marketing stand out and earn trust, and customers, in the process.”