Some business managers have given up on direct mail. Their reasoning? “It’s just not relevant anymore. Digital marketing is where it’s at. E-mail is cheaper and more effective. Nobody reads paper mail anymore.”
In fact, this reasoning isn’t as solid as you might think. It’s certainly true that marketing has been changed forever by the digital revolution, and digital marketing will continue to be an enormously relevant part of business today. But does that mean direct mail is over? A thing of the past? No. And here are ten amazing facts to prove it.
1. Studies show that people remember printed mail more than email
A piece of printed mail is a physical object. You can weight it and measure it. This isn’t true for a “piece” of e-mail. The very thing that makes digital marketing so cheap and accessible—namely that there is no physicality involved—is the very thing that works against it. People receive far more digital mail than physical mail on a given day, month or week. That means mailboxes are emptier and freer than before, which creates opportunity to reach people via email.
2. Companies are still spending more money on direct mail
How could this be? Thirty years ago, direct mail or phone marketing was the only way to reach people. Now that we’re living in a digital age, you’d think companies would have shifted their resources to digital marketing. Yet, according to emarketer.com and other analysts, there is a widespread trend toward increased budgets for “offline marketing.” Statistics show that non-digital marketing remains a huge industry worth around $100 billion.
3. People actually read direct mail
We all know what it’s like to fly through the inbox and delete messages by the dozen, mowing down those marketing messages before we even read them. As it turns out, this is far less true when it comes to direct mail. Numerous studies suggest that people routinely open and read what’s in their physical mailbox, even when it’s something they’re not particular interested in.
4. Direct mail leads into the digital realm
People who consider a marketing message via direct mail are relatively likely (some studies suggest about 30%) to interact with the company or brand online. The rates of brand interaction for digital and email marketing are far lower, with clickthrough rates of 1-4%.
5. Direct mail inspires people to resume business relationships
People who receive direct mail from a company they’ve used before—but stopped using—are more likely to resume the business relationship after receiving direct mail. This is backed up by a number of surveys and studies.
The bottom line on offline marketing
When you look at the amount of money still being invested in traditional forms of marketing, as well as the wealth of research pointing to the continued relevance of direct mail, it becomes clear that digital marketing is not the “be all end all” of success in business today. Most businesses with robust marketing portfolios use a combination of digital and traditional marketing in order to maximize tangible results and brand interactions. The X-factor is the people you partner with, whether it’s a digital marketing specialist or a reputable and qualified direct mail specialist for your offline marketing needs.
Good luck in your marketing efforts, virtual and otherwise!