No one really knows how the myth that direct mail is dead started. Maybe it was a bunch of marketers deciding nobody pays attention to the mail anymore. Then, at home, over dinner, one of these marketers starts talking about her day. She tells her rather bored-looking teen if he wants a successful lawn mowing business, email is the new way to attract customers.
The next day at school, her son, trying to get the attention of the head cheerleader, champions the merits of digital marketing. By 3:00 p.m., boom, direct mail is over – no one will ever be caught mailing a letter again. A bit silly, really – but isn’t that how rumors go?
But what if you look at direct mail from another angle? Instead of an antiquated form of communication, what if direct mail is an important piece of your marketing puzzle? Consider this: all this increase in emails leads to even more clutter taking up space in our inboxes. And to combat the hundreds of messages we receive, more and more savvy tech companies are finding solutions to help you get a handle on your inbox. Spam blockers get smarter and smarter every day.
This marketplace phenomena means you cannot count on email alone to get your message out there. Your email might not be received, let alone opened. Direct mail doesn’t have spam blockers. It’s delivered directly to your customers.
Based on data, direct mail can be tailored with specific messages to specific customers, based on their likes and dislikes. And the more engaging, provocative and personalized a direct mail piece is, the more likely it will be opened. The phrase “a picture alone is worth a thousand words” (or 50 characters) has never been more true when it comes to a really arresting piece of direct mail. It gets talk value. It gets saved. It gets results.
You want to spread your marketing dollars around, and have a portfolio of tools at your disposal. You want email to work with direct mail, direct mail to work with social, and social to help with your digital presence. It’s not an “instead of” approach. It’s a comprehensive, omnichannel marketing approach.
Offline and online marketing channels work best when they work together to reach customers where they are – their favorite sites, their streaming music channels, billboards on the road, radio in the car or a magazine print ad when they’re waiting for the dentist. Each of these channels has a purpose – to reach your customers when they are most receptive to your message. With omnichannel marketing, direct mail is providing better-than-ever results, thus showing it is not only very much alive, but thriving.
Greg Dowd is the president at Epsilon Local. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 858.900.3610.
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