With Digital becoming the standard marketing avenue, companies are pouring more of their resources into social, video, and written content to captivate their audiences. Even compared to last year, 2021 should see 12% more digital ad spend — up to 55% of all advertising spending.
As a result, we’ve reached a state of digital marketing overwhelm. What used to be a blue sea of opportunity has now become red with competition.
And on top of this market saturation, we also have to deal with steadily increasing ad costs. (Just consider how once-affordable Instagram has risen in ad cost since being acquired by Facebook). But with online click-through rates falling, wasted ad spend is crippling marketing budgets across industries.
Putting these factors together, we’re now at a point where we have to question the viability of digital marketing. So here’s our new marketing conundrum: How to effectively stand out from all the noise in an ROI-friendly manner?
Want high engagement? Then direct dimensional mail’s your best friend
Naturally, that’s our answer here — and with good reason. Traditionally, direct mail has pulled in considerably higher open rates and response rates than digital.
The reality is that despite our increasingly digital tendencies, physical mailers tend to cultivate more trust and emotional reactions. (With the recent prevalence of data privacy issues online, perhaps this shouldn’t come as a surprise). When readers can hold something, experience it with multiple senses, and give it their undivided, non-scrolling attention, the result is a greater impact. Greater impact equals longer-lasting recall. And for our purposes, longer recall is what drives the sales we so covet.
And lest we forget, we’ve so far been concerned only with traditional direct mail — which has an average response rate of 4.4%. That’s impressive compared to email’s 0.12% figure, but it’s completely overshadowed by dimensional direct mail which sees a staggering average response rate of 8.5%! With its heightened focus on quality and engagement, dimensional mail undoubtedly lies at the top of the “effectiveness” food chain for direct mail.
And the kicker is, dimensional mail is only getting more effective
Consider USPS’s deep-dive study that pinpoints three notable areas of improvement in the direct mail landscape:
- Targeting well-defined audiences with relevant marketing
- Tracking the long- and short-term metrics of campaigns
- Working hand-in-hand with omnichannel campaigns (and even driving digital traffic!)
These three bullet points have traditionally been digital’s biggest advantages over print. But now, as intelligent innovations develop, that gap is closing.
At Structural Graphics, for our part, we’ve been integrating these industry-shifting innovations into high-impact dimensional mailers. The result is an unprecedented combination of new-age data capabilities and enticing visual and tactile designs. Here’s what they look like:
- VR experiences, like this one for Farm & Wilderness summer camps that gives prospective campers a tour of the premises
- Digital compatibilities, including this flapper for Lincoln that has a QR code and NFC tag which connects viewers to a virtual test drive video
- USB-compatible “web keys,” such as the one we made for American Express to promote their Business gold card
So here’s the bottom line: We’ve long known that dimensional mail is as powerful as it gets from an engagement standpoint. And its rapid integration of technological developments is only further boosting that effectiveness.
Meanwhile, digital channels are as crowded as ever, with returns diminishing at a steady pace. Marketing here is cheaper than via direct, sure, but the ROI simply isn’t what it used to be.
And that’s why we’re so high on dimensional direct mail: If you actually want to inspire engagement and cultivate meaningful customer relationships… It really is a no-brainer.