10-03-2021

DIRECT MAIL IN A DIGITAL WORLD

Sirah explores how in a world of digital overload, direct mail is proving an effective marketing tool for cutting through with customers.

Author: Sirah Awan

I think it’s fair to say most of us have adapted to the ‘new normal’. Shopping for non-essential items, education and work have all moved exclusively online for many, while get-togethers at the pub have turned in to virtual catch-ups over FaceTime. Although it’s easy to access everything and chat to everyone at the click of a mouse, most people I know are exhausted by the lack of real-life stimuli and human-to-human interaction. The term ‘Zoom fatigue’ has even become part of our everyday vocabulary.

Our digital devices used to offer an escape from reality, but it seems that the opposite is now true, with many people desperate for a ‘digital detox’. It’s not hard to imagine that this impacts our overall receptiveness to digital marketing.

Brands are trying to take advantage of the increase in their audiences’ screen time by increasing the intensity of their e-mail marketing. This may seem like a logical approach, but my own observations would suggest that since consumers have such a high volume of online content to get through, they’re simply skimming through promotional emails or social media marketing, almost absent-mindedly.

Many brands had questioned the effectiveness of printed direct mail campaigns in recent years, moving spend into digital channels. But in a world that’s now more digital than ever, it’s becoming clear that direct mail can be more effective than ever at cutting through with consumers. Print may just be the trick brands are missing to truly stand out from their competition.

According to analysis by JICMAIL (1), shared by Whistl Doordrop Media, direct mail campaigns have performed exceptionally well during the lockdown period. They found that door-drops have outperformed the market during lockdown, with recipients interacting up to 4 times with each piece, and an in-home lifespan of up to 9.5 days. This has led to a 45% increase in the media impressions generated by recent door-drops compared to Q2 2019.

The data also shows that lockdown has contributed to an 11% year-on-year increase in the number of times recipients interacted with a piece of direct mail – a record high since JICMAIL launched in 2017.  Additional research by the Direct Marketing Association shows that direct mail marketing has an average 4.4% response rate, while email is only 0.12%, indicating significantly higher levels of engagement.

Interestingly, despite being half as likely to be targeted by Direct Mail or Door Drop as the average UK adult, JICMAIL suggests that the Gen Z audience is 40% more likely to claim that mail can change their mind about a brand than the average GB adult. This is backed by my own experience receiving direct mail as a ‘digital native’, which I spoke about in my last blog.

The evidence suggests that direct mail campaigns are performing exceptionally well in the current circumstances. With people spending more time in their homes, it’s understandable why they are more willing to spend time interacting with a promotional piece of direct mail, during a break from the online world.

In addition, printed DM avoids many of the limitations presented by GDPR. Unlike email marketing, direct mail can be sent without customers’ explicit consent, giving brands far greater freedom.

And with the data indicating that direct mail delivers higher response rates than e-mail, it’s clear that brands should be looking more closely at print to communicate effectively with new and existing customers on a more personal level, building rapport and long-lasting relationships.

Of course, I’m not suggesting brands should ditch digital marketing entirely. QR codes, online offer codes and bridges to social media are great ways for brands to integrate print and digital to maximise their effectiveness.

But as all marketers know, timing is everything. Right now, in a digitally-overloaded world, direct mail is a perfect solution to capture the attention of a jaded audience.

  • https://www.jicmail.org.uk/news/news-jicmail-q2-2020-results-reveal-record-levels-of-consumer-interaction-with-mail-during-lockdown/