Admit it, you’ve been in the majority of people who believe that good, old-fashioned direct mail – derisively maligned by our technology-loving selves as “snail mail” – was dead; a once powerful and now presumptively anachronistic marketing vehicle gone the way of the metaphorical horse and buggy.
But has it?
This may sound strange coming from an agency with a robust and active digital marketing practice, but precisely because digital marketing has become so pervasive – and because the direct mail business has been in correlative decline in relationship to digital marketing’s rapid ascension – it may be time to consider some smart, dimensionally-creative direct mail as a tactic to break through with a key message.
While there has been an undeniable explosion in digital marketing – several studies say the average person now spends more time online than with TV and all other media (newspapers, magazines, etc.) combined – direct mail has remained a fairly static as an approximately $9 billion industry. But compared to the nearly $86 billion expected to be spent on digital marketing (in the U.S. alone) in 2017, direct mail is a relatively tiny competitive landscape.
And therein lies the opportunity for marketers trying to communicate a key message to a key target segment.
Simply put, there is less competition for breakthrough messaging in the mailroom/mailbox than on our smartphones and computer/tablet screens today. And here is this interesting tidbit: you know those coveted Millennials to whom everyone wants to market? They actually read that stuff. The data shows that while they undeniably live online, they also do like direct mail … and actually read it!
Let me be clear: there are undeniable advantages in ROI and measurement/analytics that make digital marketing a platform to which your company needs to be committing resources. The ability to track and nurture prospects through a digital sales funnel is a powerful feature unique to digital marketers.
But there is still a place for beautifully executed, eye-catching dimensional direct mail to communicate key messages to targeted audiences. So don’t be afraid to “zig” while others “zag.” You’ll likely find that strategically placed, well-executed direct mail can still generate awareness – and even response – in an offer-driven setting.
Phil Loscoe is Managing Partner at RDW with a few decades of experience leading client strategies in healthcare, construction, higher ed, lottery services, and other industries. He also believes he is the world’s biggest Notre Dame football fan.