Direct Mail, Marketing

Why direct mail belongs at the heart of cross-channel marketing campaigns

Written by Jason Groom
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Originally published
November 18 2015,
July 13 2020

Direct mail (DM) - far from being filed under ‘B for Bin’ by the digital marketing revolution – has a pivotal role to play in the cross-channel marketing mix.

There are still marketers who (wrongly) assume that DM’s day was decades ago, but times change. True, it was over-used – like some cure-all antibiotic – to the point where it became referred to as junk mail and fell out of favour. Today though, with the availability of far superior data and sophisticated personalisation techniques, those years in the wilderness have given DM a twofold boost. Firstly many people now actually miss having personally addressed material landing on their doormats. And secondly, most consumers under 30 have hardly been exposed to it at all. To them modern, valued DM is a novel, highly personal and cool way to be communicated with by a brand - as part of a relevant, finely-targeted, multi-channel marketing package.

When you also factor in crucial research findings from both the DMA and Royal Mail, you begin to appreciate that DM is much more than just any old part of the package – it can be the golden key to the front door of closer communication with your potential customers.

  • The power of personalisation. Royal Mail says that 92% of all personalised DM is opened, and 48% of UK adults take action after receiving it
  • People respond more quickly to DM. 79% act on DM immediately (positively or negatively), compared to only 45% with email
  • DM is more likely to be trusted than email. Presumably because people perceive there to be more commitment from marketers who go to the trouble and expense of physically producing material
  • DM is more likely to be shared – this despite the rise of the sharing culture of social media. Coupons sent out by DM benefit from a significant ‘pass on’ effect. Over half (52%) say they will pass them to others if they don’t intend to use them, and a further 22% will tell friends and family about a discount
  • Consumers don’t want a world without physical communications. 45% of all respondents believe it would be worse, and only 15% better.

Launch your campaign with a suitably crafted piece of personalised DM which people will open and respond to quickly. They know you're serious about contacting them because it costs you to send it, and because you’ve have taken the time and trouble to make your message relevant and personal to them. Also include a mechanic that requires them either to email you, send a text or visit a URL. Make sure that they’ll read about you on social media too, and you’ll start to generate a real buzz. Finish with a personal phone call and... bingo.

Cross-channel marketing is all about using additional, complimentary ways of nurturing your prospect. And there’s no better way to open up those channels than with ‘new, improved’ DM...

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