Direct mail is a thriving marketing channel. The $44-billion industry has been on the rise for the past 10 years and direct mail marketing statistics show it’s only continuing to grow—by billions of dollars each year. Over 80% of marketing executives plan to maintain or increase their usage this year.
Join the smart marketers who are implementing direct mail into their marketing efforts. Here are seven benefits of direct mail marketing that you can set into motion today.
Let’s begin discussing the benefits of direct mail marketing with a little neuroscience. The fact that you can pick up, touch, and hold a piece of mail makes it more real to your mind than digital marketing. It leaves “a deeper footprint in the brain,” according to a study.
The research provided new insights into how the brain engages with these two marketing mediums. It proposed that there’s more emotional processing with physical material than there is with virtual. Scientists used Functional Magnetic Resonance Imagery (fMRI) scanning to determine how the human brain reacts to physical and virtual stimuli. These scans looked at the brain’s activity to see the regions most involved with processing advertising.
When participants viewed printed cards, scans revealed more activity with significant sections of the brain. Printed materials were more connected to memory because they engaged with spatial memory networks. The study also found that physical materials produced more brain responses associated with internal feelings. So the print ads were more internalized than the virtual content was. In other words, they made a deeper and more lasting impact on their recipients.
What Neuromarketing Tells Us About Direct Mail
The United States Postal Service conducted a similar neuromarketing study with the Center for Neural Decision Making at Temple University’s Fox School of Business. The study sought to gauge responses to physical and digital advertising. The results?
Direct mail campaigns required 21% less cognitive effort to process and the recall was 70% higher than that of a digital ad. This would indicate that we’re wired to respond more strongly to physical, printed messages.
Among the benefits of direct mail marketing, virtual media has specific uses, especially with targeting and interactivity, but there’s something extraordinary about a physical piece of mail. It generates more emotion, therefore it should also create more positive brand associations and aid in motivation.
Do you like to check your mailbox each day? Most people do. In fact, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) reports that over 55% of Americans love to receive mail. And almost three-quarters of households look at some or all of their marketing mail (in addition to the bills, cards, and letters). That means there’s a pretty good chance your direct mail campaign will get someone’s attention, especially if you deliver an eye-catching piece.
Good for All Age Groups (Especially Millennials)
A Gallup poll revealed that direct mail’s a hit with people under 30 years of age. Almost 85% of Gen Y consumers take the time to look through their mail each day. Respondents said print marketing had fewer distractions than reading online material. Plus, they reported less eye strain and fewer headaches than they did when looking at a screen for a long period of time.
In the USPS white paper “Still Relevant: A Look at How Millennials Respond to Direct Mail,” 90% of those polled felt direct mail advertising was a reliable source. Compared to other adults, millennials are more likely to:
If you want to market to millennials, direct mail is a proven winner.
Direct mail is not a standalone marketing channel. It works well alongside digital to create an effective multichannel marketing campaign.
Multichannel marketing gives your customer a variety of ways to make a purchase. Over 70% of consumers say they’d prefer to connect with businesses via multichannel marketing. You could have a physical store, a website, and social media accounts that work alongside your direct mail print catalog. This allows you to maximize your opportunities and connect with your customers on various channels.
By merely adding one extra marketing channel to your direct mail, you’re increasing your revenue by 38%. If you add a third channel, the percentage increases to 120%. The more channels you add, the more success you can expect because each of the channels gives your customer another way of doing business with you. Around 50% of businesses today use at least eight marketing channels to interact with their customers. Imagine the possibilities.
When it comes to making a purchasing decision, about 75% of consumers trust direct mail. In fact, they trust traditional advertising channels more than digital. Direct mail ranks behind only television advertising and print ads for its trustworthiness.
If you look at the digital universe, credibility oftentimes becomes an issue with low-quality content and a lack of authority. Even Facebook reported that it had severely overestimated how much time people had spent watching video ads on their network. For those advertisers who spent millions of marketing dollars with the mega-popular social channel, it was a startling and disappointing discovery.
Direct mail marketing has become more of a trusted choice and that’s why many advertisers are turning back to this classic marketing channel.
About 85% of consumers said they’d be more likely to open a piece of personalized mail. Roughly that same percentage of U.S. marketers saw measurable improvements because of personalization, with many reporting as much as a 10% lift in business results. Personalizing your direct mail marketing campaigns works. That’s why it’s one of the most effective benefits of direct mail marketing.
Mass Customization with Variable Data Printing
What is variable data printing? VDP is a type of digital print production that allows for mass customization. If you had 10,000 sales brochures to send, and you wanted to customize them to appeal to each individual recipient, you’d use VDP to accomplish it without sacrificing any time in production. For example, you could print location-specific information on each brochure. The suggested retail location would change based on where the recipient lived, with a referencing website URL and/or map with directions to a local store. Additionally, you could provide a coupon code that’s only valid at that location.
Here are a few more ways you can personalize your direct mail:
The DMA Response Rate Report says that over 5% of U.S. households respond to the direct mail marketing they receive. Compare that to digital marketing channels. Email receives a 0.1% response rate. Online display advertising is 0.2%. Social media is at 0.4%. Paid search has a 0.6% response rate.
Ultimately, you want your direct mail marketing campaigns to produce paying customers. There’s good news on that front. Direct mail carries a high return compared to other channels. According to the DMA, the direct mail median household return on investment is 29%. Direct mail is more expensive than running an online banner or paid search ad, but you’ll likely enjoy a larger ROI.
Naturally, you can’t follow your direct mail piece from one consumer’s house to the next, but there are some reasonable alternatives. Here are some tips for tracking your next direct mail campaign.
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