Do outbound digital dispatches dominate?

Posted on Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Despite the 21st century dash towards digital data and dialogue across all devices, there is still a very commendable and convincing case for the use of direct mail as a means to reach and have a measurable impact on the desired target audience.

Clearly digital is firmly embedded and a permanent part of 21st century marketing psyche. Since 2007 when the first iPhone was introduced, (yes only 7 years ago),  to the recent meteoric increase in social media communication, digital progression has transformed the way we interact and communicate daily as humans.

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However despite that there is still a respectable appetite and a very important place in many a successful marketing campaign for direct mail, the old stalwart of decades past has not diminished in its ability to engage the audience and yield a response. In fact since 2004, direct-mail response rates have increased by 14% whereas for the same period, email response rates have plummeted by 57%, quite simply because the quantity of emails we all receive has exponentially increased and the daily quantity of junk email far out-ways direct mail junk an individual receives.

Interestingly there are many benefits to direct mail that may come as a thought-provoking surprise, in a recent Digital Marketing Ramblings report it was revealed that 92% of young shoppers said they preferred direct mail for making purchasing decisions. In 2013, 48% of the UK population that received a direct mail piece responded to it.

There also seem to be some favourite topics that garner the best responses. According to a recent CMS report on direct mail, apparently 62% of people like to receive mail telling them about new offers, 70% like to receive mail that rewards their loyalty and 56% welcome mail that provides useful information.

Another key component as to why DM is still a very effective marketing tool is because direct mail still yields the lowest cost-per-lead and highest conversion rate when measuring outbound marketing activity.

The DMA reports that the cost per lead of direct mail is in line with print and pay-per-click, and significantly less than telemarketing. Direct mail production costs are greater than email, but not enough to make email the top dog of direct marketing. Additionally the ROI for a direct mail piece is easily tracked and measured. The number of inquiries, leads and sales are offset readily against the amount of pieces mailed, not rocket science just reliable.

Cost Per Lead Comparison


Source: DMA, 2012 Response Rate Report & Central Mailing Services: Direct Mail vs Email


In the digital age of email dross and deletes it seems consumers still like to touch, read, consider and often keep and refer back to relevant direct mail pieces. Despite the last decades warp speed change in communication channels, ironically DM in 2014 still has the ability to give a better impression of a company because, in the plethora of digital dispatches, the familiar format of DM is deemed a more professional means of communication and enables key information to be digested quickly and easily.

This re-action is often amplified and confirmed to a greater extent if the mail they receive is personalised, and has a 3D component, making the piece more memorable, useful and fun. The unrelenting wet winter of 2014 inspired us at Miramar to send out brollies in anticipation of more showers in April. Each brolly had a url on it that led to a personalised landing page, the response was terrific and the item practical! The more creative the mail piece the more conversation and emotional response it evokes, whether negative or positive, emotional reaction is the key to engaging the consumer.

BUT even if DM still is comfortably comprehensible and familiar, let NONE us not be fool hardy enough to dismiss the cataclysmic power and real time impact that inbound marketing has. Social Media has mega-morphed in the last 5 years from a largely recreational activity to an integral and powerful part of any dynamic 21st century business strategy and inbound marketing channels deliver dramatically lower costs per lead than outbound channels. According to Evenstar Marketing Services recently, companies who spend more than 50% of their lead generation budget on inbound marketing channels report a significantly lower cost per sales lead than those who spend 50% or more of their budgets on outbound marketing channels.

So we can determine that multi-channel integrated communications plans will provide you with more opportunities to connect and influence your clients, customers and prospects but budgets, timeframes and data can mean that you can only execute through one medium and maybe just maybe it doesn’t ‘have’ to be email.

In next month’s musing we’ll take a look at the evolving trends in Social Media, discuss what is Top of the Social Pops for 2014, what content is commanding the best results and touch on how this all starts to trickle down and impact the Social Internet of Things!

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