The Evolution of Direct Mail: Why It Still Matters

Modern marketers may not place Direct Mail as high on the relevance scale as they perhaps did a decade ago, but as part of an integrated marketing strategy, the channel is still alive and well. Despite the rapid transformation from offline to online, the practice of direct marketing has remained very much the same in terms of goals. In fact, traditional methods are guided by the same goals marketers seek for social, mobile, email or display. What we have seen through the years, and through the evolution of the sophisticated omnichannel consumer, is simply a shift in practice – through a greater leveraging of consumer data, analytics tools and more intuitive technologies, we’re able to provide more relevant information to our customers.

Direct Mail is bigger and more innovative than ever before. With new capabilities provided by Big Data and attribution tools, the reach of Direct Mail has vastly extended not only through its own channel, but also across all of the digital channels combined. The most important factor? Direct Mail still converts, both on its own and through an integrated mix. Here are some reasons why:

The Good, Old-Fashioned Feeling
Digital communication is the norm today, a phenomenon very much lead by the proliferation of the smartphone. But there’s something Direct Mail can provide to consumers that a mobile ad or video may not. It’s that good old-fashioned feeling you get – the emotion. A piece of Direct Mail is a physical extension of the brand, something that a customer can view, touch and feel in person. It’s a tangible experience, and one that can potentially transcend the impact of other channels when used strategically. And it’s not just older generations who feel something when they receive an offer or promotion via mail. Millennials, the most sought after and highly ‘digitalized’ audience segment, show preference to Direct Mail. According to a study conducted by media company, Research Now, 90% of millennials believe Direct Mail to be reliable, and 87% reported enjoying that they like to receive offers and promotions through the mail.

Smarter Targeting
Personalization has always been at the core of direct marketing, but today, data reaps much more detailed information about each individual customer – from both a transactional and personal standpoint. With smarter analytics tools, we can build more sophisticated databases that group different customers based on the content and messages that best apply to them. More than ever before, direct mail marketers can leverage data to not only personalize the physical Direct Mail piece, but also to understand how to apply those insights across every customer touch point.

Compatible with Digital
Today, there are innovations that enhance Direct Mail to the point where it can become cohesive with the digital experience. Augmented reality technologies and personalized URLs are examples where marketers can engage their customer in a unique and compelling way, while also creating a highly tailored experience. As we draw deeper connections between traditional offline marketing tactics and modern digital practices, Direct Mail not only maintains its relevance, but it also proves critical to the entire marketing mix.

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