Having spent much of the last 15 years forecasting the rise of the email and social media as the primary method of communicating with customers along with the slow death of direct mail, the last few years have seen not just the slowing down of this “inevitable” transition away from paper but there are also signs of the rise of direct mail once more as a medium of choice for marketing communication. We have seen a number of Clients considering the use of direct mail, replacing campaigns that were previously undertaken electronically. There are a variety of reasons for this, however underlying them all are the difficult economic trading conditions in the UK and the need for direct marketing expenditure to work. Whilst the cost of sending an item through the post can be ten times the cost of sending an email, it’s the return on investment that is driving this return to paper:-
- Targeting is the key to successful direct marketing. The quality and penetration of available named email data both for B2B and B2C activity is substantially poorer than the equivalent mailing address data.
- It is becoming increasingly difficult for the email to reach the desktop of the desired recipient and not to be deleted without viewing, as spam filters improve and the recipients become wiser to what they want to read from the ever-increasing bombardment of unwanted emails. And with new data protection legislation on the horizon, this situation is only going to get worse.
- For B2C in particular, emails are slowly being overtaken by the rise of social media, as the method of receiving information electronically. However from a marketing perspective this approach is more suited to the information broadcast rather than the personalised message.
- Even if the communication is destined to be binned, whether the waste bin or the recycle bin, the paper communication is far more likely to be opened and examined before discarding whereas the email disappears instantaneously with the delete button. And in those few seconds lies the opportunity for the paper communication to catch the eye and receive more than a cursory glance. Further, the direct mail item is more likely to stay around longer on the recipient’s desk or sideboard than in the email inbox.
So maybe when considering which way to go with your next campaign, you need to look not at the upfront cost of the campaign but at the overall return on your investment. Increasingly, it would appear, direct mail is the preferred choice.