Is Direct Mail Still An Effective Direct Marketing Medium?


When social media marketing is viral, you could be forgiven for thinking that postal campaigns belong to the past. However, this is not necessarily the case. According to research carried out by Gate point Research and sponsored by Luma Technologies, 73 per cent of large companies still carry out direct mail campaigns. Such companies include Google, which conducted a direct mail campaign to offer prospects £100 free internet advertising.

How effective is direct mail in the digital age?

Is it still worth setting up direct mail campaigns, or is it better to forget them altogether and focus on electronic forms of communication?

According to the Direct Marketing Association’s 2012 Response Rate Report, letter-sized mail generated a response rate of 3.40 per cent when Who used an in-house mailing list of former customers. This compares with a response rate of only 0.12 per cent for email campaigns that used an in-house list.

When using a purchased mailing list of prospects, direct mail also generated a much higher response rate of 1.28 per cent compared with 0.03 per cent for email campaigns.

However, since the cost of sending postal mail is higher than sending emails, the marketing cost per order gained was £51.40 for direct mail campaigns, which was only slightly lower than £55.24 for email campaigns.

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) also reported that response rates to direct mail had fallen by almost 25 per cent in the last nine years. Despite this, the statistics suggest that direct mail still generates a better response rate for a slightly lower cost per order than email marketing. What could be the reasons for this?

People now receive fewer items of direct mail than they did ten years ago. This means that a personally addressed letter can grab a person’s attention more effectively than one of the many hundreds of emails received every day. This is especially true if the mailing looks appealing or contains a special offer or gift.

Additional Research

Further research was carried out by the marketing company Epsilon Targeting showed that people prefer receiving direct mail communications to emails for various products and services.

For example, 41 per cent of Businesses would rather receive communications about sensitive issues by mail, with only 8 per cent preferring to receive them by email. On the other hand, some 40 per cent of businesses chose to receive marketing communications from financial services companies by mail, with 10 per cent preferring to pick them up by email.

This research also discovered that 60 per cent of people enjoy checking their postal mailbox. This does not necessarily mean that they would respond favourably to postal, but it may make it more likely to open and respond to a well-targeted mailing.

Therefore, it would appear that there is still a place for direct mail in the marketing mix. It may reach people the internet cannot get, such as the elderly or in remote areas. In addition, a well-designed piece of mail may be more likely to be opened, read and responded to than one of the many items of spam that appear in your inbox every day. However, it is crucial to achieve a balance and use direct mail as just one of your company’s many marketing tools. Furthermore, B2B direct mail is still a powerful marketing tool.

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