Why do people continue to refer to direct mail as “old school” marketing? There is nothing old school about direct mail anymore. Interest in direct mail took a hit for awhile as marketers flocked to the low cost and immediate gratification of digital marketing. Now many of those marketers are back.
Just look at the return of catalogs. After making marketing headlines by shelving its print catalog several years ago, J.C. Penney reversed course. Major retailers like Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue are sending more targeted and specialized catalogs. Williams Sonoma has made a deeper investment in its catalog by adding recipes.
While not every marketer uses catalogs, their return speaks volumes about the value of direct mail. Numerous studies have shown that even Millennials—the consummate digital generation—are responding to direct mail (when it’s done right).
According to the Direct Marketing Association’s 2015 Response Rate report, the average response rate to direct mail is now 3.7% with a house list and 1% with a prospect list (compare that to .1% for email). Even a few years ago, the average response rate for direct mail was .5% to 1.0%. Something has changed, radically.
Let’s look at three reasons why direct mail is the hottest “new” trend.
- Marketers are paying more attention to direct mail.
Marketers may take print out of the mix for awhile, then bring it back. When they do, they often bring back a newer, better version of direct mail — one that is more personalized, more targeted, and more creative than the “old” versions.
- Print has become interactive.
Direct mail is changing. Interactive elements like augmented reality, QR Codes, and personalized URLs make it a responsive channel. The 2016 IKEA Catalog uses Augmented Reality to allow consumers to visualize products in their homes before they buy them. Recipients can scan a QR Code to be immediately taken to a video testimonial or demonstration of the product. If you’re a nonprofit, people can make donations via QR Code, as well.
- Personalization is more powerful.
It used to be that people were highly skeptical of giving out their personal information, but they are becoming increasingly comfortable with it. Infosys found that 78% of consumers would be likely to purchase from a retailer multiple times if the retailer provided them with targeted offers, and 45% would be willing to trade “some privacy” for incentives tailored to their shopping habits. As consumers become more comfortable with giving out their data, marketers’ ability to create highly targeted, more effective direct mail campaigns gets easier.
Want to rediscover the power of direct mail? Let us show you some creative ideas!