Benefits of Direct Mail Marketing
Direct mail is not dead. In fact, after rushing to digital advertising, many marketers are finding great success by returning to direct mail as a key component of their marketing campaigns.
Since the advent of digital marketing, there have been so many myths regarding the effectiveness of direct mail: “Direct mail is old-fashioned. Everyone hates ‘junk’ mail. You can’t track the results. Mail is so expensive compared to digital advertising.”
Research about the benefits of direct mail, however, reveals quite the opposite. The use of direct mail is predicted to increase 5% each year for the next few years, and we’ve assembled some facts that show the reasons why it’s having a resurgence, starting with the following:
- Nearly 85 percent of millennials take time to look through their mail.
- Nearly 65 percent of millennials would rather scan for useful information in print mail than email.
- Ninety percent of millennials think direct mail is reliable.
- Among baby boomers, catalogs and flyers in the mail were the No. 1 media for influencing purchase behavior.
Key Benefits of Direct Mail Marketing You Can’t Get Without It
1. Touch has a memory.
Beyond these statistics, there’s the subject of natural human interaction with direct mail.
When you touch a direct mail piece, you’re more likely to remember its quality, which is why the design and paper it’s printed on is so important.
When you see an image on a document in your hand, you’re more likely to take a closer look – and ultimately relate the image to its brand.
When you read mail in your hand, the words are more likely to resonate with you. Why? It’s because the rest of the clutter in the world is irrelevant; at that moment, it’s just you and that piece of mail. You make a connection with direct mail that doesn’t happen when you’re looking at a monitor.
All of this is based on science – the science of learning, the science of memory and even the science of biology.
According to scientific research, the tactile aspect of print and mail contribute to a powerful impact on long-term memory encoding. It’s 35 percent stronger than it is with social media and 39 percent stronger than it is with email.
In 2019, Temple University and the U.S. Postal Service conducted a neuroscience study with some remarkable results. By tracking eye movement and biometrics and conducting brain scans on volunteers,
they monitored how the subjects engaged with different forms of advertising. The subjects were asked about three key elements:
- remembering which brand they’d just seen: brand recall
- matching a slogan to a brand: brand association
- whether an image was related to a brand or to its competitor: brand discrimination
Subjects were exposed to both physical postcards and emails. A week later, they were brought back and asked a series of questions about what they remembered and their willingness to pay.
Regardless of subject age, the most effective ads were physical postcards. With the printed ads, subjects could touch and feel the ads, making them more likely to remember the brand printed on them.
Print ads surpassed digital in the amount of time subjects spent engaging with the ad, in emotional response, in memory speed, in desire for the product or service, and in the value the subject placed on the service or product.
2. Direct mail marketing materials are shareable and visible.
Have you ever entered someone else’s home and found yourself completely unable to resist the natural reflex of looking at a postcard on their counter? You probably quickly turned away, but not before you caught a quick glimpse of that marketing collateral.
This scenario illustrates a couple other benefits of direct mail marketing.
Nearly 90 percent of key purchases are made with input from others in the household, and direct mail can be easily shared and discussed with key influencers. Additionally, you may be able to reach an even wider audience when these direct mail pieces are shared or viewed by chance.
In fact, studies show that direct mail marketing increases the longevity of the marketing campaign by an average of 17 days.
3. You can increase your ROI.
Direct mail offers a tangible and trusted marketing channel that puts messaging in the right hands at the right time. Studies show that direct mail gets an average of five to nine times the average response rate as compared to digital marketing messages.
It’s true that direct mail marketing can involve a large investment, but when you do it right, the benefits far outweigh the expense. Studies show that each dollar spent on direct marketing yields, on average, a return of $12.45. By comparison, each dollar spent on non-direct mail advertising yields a return of $5.29.
Bringing It All Together with an Omni-Channel Approach
Direct mail is a great channel on its own, but smart marketers know that when used as part of an omni-channel approach – such as direct marketing mail, organic digital marketing, paid marketing strategies, email marketing and more – it can dramatically increase campaign results. You can find more about our omni-channel and authentic marketing strategies on our blog channel and other website pages.
Learn more about the benefits of direct mail marketing:
- For the greatest return on investment, it’s important to identify your target audience properly. See how we used direct mail, targeted with scientific accuracy, to help Walmart recruit new employees.
- Read our case study to see how we saved Detroit Public Television more than $15,000 on their campaign, all while greatly increasing their response rate and saving internal energy.