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Direct Mail Isn’t Dead: An “Old-School” Tactic for Modern Marketers

Learn how (and why) to execute an effective direct mail marketing campaign in our increasingly digital age.

As the world — and the way we communicate in it — grows increasingly more digital, traditional marketing strategies like direct mail may begin to feel obsolete. But in reality, direct mail is still one of the most effective tools a marketer can use to build brand awareness, attract new clients and maintain existing relationships.

The always-on nature of our virtual interactions — via email, social media, or any other online channel — has begun to lead to a sense of “digital fatigue” that makes finding a physical postcard in a physical mailbox a welcome reprieve from online ads and sales pitches. SG360’s 2021 report, “The Future of Direct Mail: An Opportunity for Unified Marketing Strategy,” notes:

  • 94 percent of marketers are finding their companies’ customers to be overwhelmed by the growth of digital marketing channels
  • 75 percent of consumers agree that the number of digital ads they see daily is overwhelming.
  • Consumers value direct mail more than paid online ads, search engine marketing, content marketing, event marketing, and influencer marketing.
  • 77 percent of Gen Z and millennial consumers, along with 71 percent of Gen X’ers and 55 percent of baby boomers, feel positive about direct mail.
  • And the younger generations (with millennials in the lead) are significantly more likely than baby boomers to interact with at least 30 percent of the direct mail they receive.

All of this suggests that, in an “always-online” world, direct mail is a powerful way for a brand to make itself heard over the digital noise. So, given that many consumers are actively interested in receiving direct mail from the brands they follow, what can these companies do to maximize their investment in this “old-school” marketing strategy?

Personalize Mailings

According to SG360, the majority of the Gen Z (51 percent) and millennial (53 percent) consumers who feel positive about direct mail say it’s because they feel like it’s personalized to them. And this makes good sense. Despite all its convenience, the shift to digital has led to a lack of personal interactions for many consumers, particularly in the wake of the pandemic, when familiar faces in a store and quick chats at the register were all but replaced by impersonal online shopping experiences and algorithm-driven recommendations.

In fact, research has shown that personalizing direct mail (by adding recipient names, customizing mailings based on their previous interactions with the brand, localizing content for regional languages and references, etc.) can double response rates, cut acquisition costs in half, lift revenues by up to 15 percent, and increase marketing spend efficiency by up to 30 percent.

Make Your Mail Interactive

Just because direct mail is a respite from digital advertising, that doesn’t mean traditional and tech can’t work hand-in-hand. Today’s direct mail campaigns can boost engagement and ROI by encouraging recipients to grab their phones and interact more deeply with the brand right away. QR codes have made a comeback in the wake of the pandemic, and these can be used on postcards and flyers to take customers to web pages that increase engagement in countless ways, from providing more information through text or video, taking them directly to a purchase page, or even launching an AR experience that enables recipients to see and interact with a product in 3D.

Whether you’re using direct mail to attract new buyers or re-engage dormant customers, mobile-enabled features are a powerful way to bring traditional mailings into the digital age.

Incorporate Direct Mail Into an Omnichannel Strategy

Direct mail is a powerful marketing technique, but it isn’t the end-all, be-all — and in fact, it’s far more effective when combined with broader, cross-channel marketing campaigns. After all, today’s consumers expect to interact with brands across a variety of digital and physical channels, and the two can work well together in several ways. For example:

  • Digital marketing can increase brand awareness ahead of direct mail campaigns
  • Digital platforms can become A/B testing grounds for pricey printed materials
  • Digital outreach can prime audiences to look out for specific mailers

By adding physical mailers to your email and social media strategy — with consistent design, brand story and messaging — companies can expand their reach and set their marketing apart from their competitors’ by meeting customers in their medium of choice.

Find the Right Marketing Execution Partner

The benefits of direct mail for connecting with customers are undeniable, but getting these campaigns just right — and integrating them seamlessly with other marketing channels — takes some expertise. Finding a marketing execution partner that can handle production and mailing of direct mail materials while also supporting digital marketing initiatives is a powerful way for companies to ease the marketing burden while minimizing costs and maximizing results.

At OneTouchPoint, we pride ourselves on being just that partner. Our U.Connect platform enables localized digital and traditional marketing campaigns, centralizing collateral,and print orders to maintain brand integrity along with campaign and budget transparency. Our state-of-the-art production facilities ensure every mailer is showcasing your brand in its best light, and our suite of mailing services are tailored to fit virtually any project or budget. We mail over 155 million pieces of mail each year, offer list rental services, and have USPS experts on staff to ensure your mail pieces meet all regulations and are mailed at the most cost-effective rates possible. Our goal is to help our clients build and execute effective multichannel marketing strategies where personalized direct mail plays an integral role. When your business is ready to enhance its direct mail strategies, we invite you to contact us to learn more.

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