The changing world
In a digitised world where most interactions take place online, B2B and B2C marketers were quick to embrace the opportunities presented by digital communication channels. The prioritisation of the digital mindset was a key factor in the decline of postage volumes, and offline marketing channels like Direct Mail came to be thought of as old-fashioned and inefficient.
The world has changed. Businesses have rethought their purchasing strategies as a result of Covid and ongoing supply problems and the cost-of-living crisis is affecting consumer buying behaviour. Screen fatigue from working from home during prolonged pandemic lockdowns has led to a desire for more human and tactile interactions to break through the overwhelming digital landscape. Changed attitudes to work practices means that hybrid and fragmented work environments will continue.
The renaissance of Direct Mail
These factors have caused the resurgence of Direct Mail as an effective marketing channel. Research shows that a significant number of consumers prefer to receive messages by Direct Mail (55%) than email (25%), the lifespan of Direct Mail communications is far longer (17 days compared to 17 seconds), and the response rate to Direct Mail (5.3%) compares favourably to that of email (0.6%).
Getting the right message to the right person at the right time in the right format is the key to success in B2B and B2C marketing. Smart marketers are seeing the advantages of a physical connection with their customers and integrating Direct Mail into their marketing communications mix alongside digital channels. Two-thirds of marketers who run Direct Mail campaigns say they have improved over the last twelve months. The targeting and personalisation capabilities of Direct Mail encourages customer interaction with the brand, drives the customer journey, and influences buying decisions.
Getting the best from Direct Mail
Direct Mail plays a key role at every stage of the customer journey. If used correctly it is a highly effective tool to drive brand awareness and customer interaction, acquisition and retention. Below we look at some of the key factors in successful Direct Mail campaigns.
Data: Analysing and using good quality data is essential to understanding customers and how they engage with brands. It enables marketers to target specific segments of their customer base with compelling messages and offers. The sophistication and granularity of Direct Mail data analytics facilitates the testing of multiple creative ideas and offers in a single campaign and measure the outcomes. This information enables campaigns to be quickly adjusted, the attribution of customer behaviour, and databases to be updated for re-targeting.
Targeting: Targeted Direct Mail creates touchpoints with customers at specific points on their unique buyer journey that can make positive and lasting brand impressions. Direct Mail data analysis enables marketers to target audience segments that are more likely to respond to specific campaigns, for instance by customising messages and offers to individuals based on their purchasing history. Focusing on specific segments reduces mail volumes which makes Direct Mail a less cluttered channel than email or digital display advertising with a higher probability of customer response. Consistently high Response Rates From Direct Mail Campaigns drives strong campaign performance and marketing ROI. This trend is likely to continue as more data is leveraged for more effective targeting.
Personalisation: Knowing who and where customers are is only part of the equation; customers increasingly expect brands to know what they like and send them compelling and relevant messages and offers. Consistent, individualised messages reinforce brand relevance and engagement. Direct Mail is particularly suited to personalising messages and offers at the right time, and enables the format to be adapted to drive relevance and impact. In an overwhelmingly digital landscape personalised, tangible Direct Mail stands out. A recent study shows that 75% of millennials say that receiving personalised Direct Mail makes them feel special.
Design: A customer usually needs a good reason for opening and engaging with mail, however well researched, targeted and personalised the piece is. Design is crucial for customising messages to target audiences and giving them a compelling reason to engage and respond. It is an opportunity to introduce or reinforce the brand in the minds of recipients and to demonstrate how much the brand image is valued. The theme, tone and style of the piece, the layout of content, how easy the message is to understand, and the use of colour, imagery and typography are all vitally important in making the message resonate with the recipient. Printing and the choice of paper are key in transforming good design into tangible, memorable communication.
Engagement: The growing need for physical connection as a result of digital fatigue has increased Direct Mail’s effectiveness at engaging with customers. Engagement can be tracked and measured by embedding unique QR codes, promotional codes, personalised URLs and coupons, and pointing customers to dedicated landing pages or phone numbers for further information. These methods enable marketers to attribute customer activity to specific Direct Mail campaigns and test different messages and offers. Direct Mail campaigns set the basis for other personalised forms of engagement to steer the customer journey such as follow-up phone calls, personalised emails, and text messages.
Nostalgia Marketing: Increasing numbers of brands are using nostalgia marketing as part of their mix by associating their brands with pleasant and positive emotions. Direct Mail fits well into a nostalgia marketing strategy: the tactile experience of opening physical mail can induce feelings of nostalgia and authenticity that opening email or social media doesn’t. The response of Millennials to Direct Mail, mentioned above, who were born after the heyday of mail communications, shows that a nostalgia marketing strategy designed to evoke a positive, emotional response to a product, is not tied to any particular generation and that Direct Mail is an effective channel to achieve this.
Direct Mail in the Marketing Mix
Marketers are increasingly integrating Direct Mail into their communications mix because of the targeting, personalisation, flexible format and attribution capabilities it provides. Direct Mail is usually used in conjunction with other channels to improve overall response rates and drive marketing ROI. Direct Mail can fortify brand values and reinforce other channels by directing recipients to the brand website or to a specific product web page. It is a highly effective tool in building meaningful relationships with targets in a hybrid, fragmented work environment, and provides a physical, measurable touchpoint in an otherwise virtual customer journey.
Perivan provides a full Direct Mail marketing consultative and management service, including creative design and print, fulfilment and mailing management. If you would like to see how Perivan can help with your Direct Mail campaigns, contact the Perivan team who can discuss your requirements with you.