The Design Division

Is there still a role for direct mail?

It’s old hat. It costs too much in paper and postage. I didn’t even study it at college.

There are plenty of excuses bandied about not to use direct mail as a marketing communications tool any more. However, there’s also an old saying – ‘fashion is temporary, class is permanent’.

Never is it truer than about direct mail. In the century or so of its existence, direct mail has rung up a fair few converted leads in its time, and the reasons why have not vanished into thin air – or should I say the ether. In other words, direct mail can still be relied upon to pull its weight in your marketing campaigns, and remains a key part of the communications mix.

For example, direct mail is touchy feely. And not only can you touch it, you can see it in glorious, large scale full colour, smell it and even taste it on occasion! Those enticing looking packages plopping through the letterbox can still be very tempting and hard to ignore, more so than any email in an inbox. As an experience, it can be altogether more interactive, exciting and memorable. You also have recourse to a massive range of formats, not just envelopes and letters but brochures, catalogues, postcards, 3-D mailers and many more. The only limit is your – or your agency’s – imagination.

Also, while the Internet is an excellent targeting tool, that’s not to say direct mail isn’t. You can address the interests of a segment or niche accurately, and tailor content, messaging and imagery to suit the audience. When it comes to assessing results, the medium is highly measurable, too, with a host of testing, measurement and analytical tools available. It’s also great for personalisation, which is now much more cost-effective thanks to new printing techniques.

So, great for conversion, brilliant for cost-effectiveness, spot-on for targeting and ideal for personalisation, like Mark Twain rumours of direct mail’s demise have been greatly exaggerated!

Nor is it just opinion. Recent research has confirmed that ‘physical’ media left a ‘deeper footprint’ in the brain. Not just on older customers, either. 18-34s preferred offers in the post, too. Direct mail was also found to be the best medium in consumer marketing for ROI, acquisition, customer contact and retention.

Food for thought? For more, call 0845 230 4810.