Marketing Insights

Direct Mail Survives in Spite of The Odds

Posted by Karen Kerski

mail-boxHow many times has it been said that postage rates, PPC, or another marketing innovation will finally kill direct mail? USPO hasn’t helped their business either. Steadily increasing postage rates, the US Post Office has done a great job on their own to try to kill direct mail.

It isn't dead yet?

Technology has increased the tools companies can use to promote their product or service and some seem to be very economical. Futurists are the first to talk up the next great innovation in marketing and promote the use of these new tools with stories of how one company had phenomenal results growing their business using it. It reminds me to the hopefuls posting their music videos on YouTube hoping to be discovered like Justin Bieber. Direct response rates remain greater than email campaign open rates.

Many in my industry are pushing every new resource. The fact is that the majority of companies can’t afford to include every tool in their marketing plan. It’s great that Coke, Intel, and other major brands can experiment with each new social media outlet and out-bound technique created. It takes time to test and then honestly determine the value of the test. Coke released their report on their Facebook marketing which revealed that they could prove that not “one” sale was made from their Facebook marketing. Not one! Yet they continue to use Facebook to market to their audience.

People want to be in control of the content they receive: 86% of people skip TV commercials. 44% of direct mail is never opened. 91% of people have unsubscribed from company emails they previously opted into. February 2015 1

If Coke can’t attribute even one sale to those efforts you have to ask what is their goal from that spending?

Measuring results to expected goals is smart business. Throwing money at marketing without strategic initiatives leaves you at the mercy of every specialist touting the current greatest marketing innovation. Along with measuring you have to have to be knowledgeable enough to understand the reports you are presented or you will be sold ocean front property in Arizona.

State Farm sends me a letter every month trying to get my business. LL Bean still mails catalogs to me around the holidays. Publishers Clearing House mails contest applications with their product sell sheets monthly. Just look at your mail and you know direct mail isn’t dead.

79% of housholds say they read or scan direct mail ads.

Some people and businesses get more mail than others. Everyone complains about too much email. As a result email programs have automated dumping emails into “junk” box, even Google’s gmail implemented a strong filter reducing the number of emails identified as legitimate. Unknown senders communications are quickly deleted regardless of subject.

Direct mail yields a 13-to-1 return on investment ratio.

Marketers brag of 15-30% open rates of the email campaigns. As diet programs disclose, these numbers are not guaranteed. More common survey and research claim 3% email open rates are considered excellent. Now consider the fact that a self-mailer exposes recipient to visual and headline without needing to be opened. Comparing 3% email open to a self-mailer, email is pitiful. When you take the fact that each person shuffles through their mail, the view rate for direct mail is 100% viewing with self-mailer format. We can expect technology to provide new marketing tools, yet through the years and increases in print and postage, direct mail continues to deliver solid results that compute into profits for businesses that integrate it in their marketing mix.

Does your marketing plan have a balanced program using direct response to deliver ROI?  For a free marketing analysis contact Karen at Catalpha today.

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Topics: Advertising, Marketing, direct mail

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