Social media has become the darling of many direct marketing initiatives, but there remains a lot to be said in favor of direct mail. In a post for the International Association of Franchisees and Dealers, Constance Jacoby makes the argument in favor of using mailing campaigns rather than focusing solely on digital tactics and social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. She spoke with several marketing experts for insight on why the traditional channel still packs such a powerful punch.
Physical connection to consumers
Jeffrey Rohrs, vice president of marketing research and education for ExactTarget, told Jacoby that consumers appreciate the tactile element of direct mail, noting that it "provides a tangible experience that digital media does not replicate. And in a world of hyper-fragmentation of communication channels, where you can get a phone call, text, e-mail, post on Facebook, message on Twitter, message on apps, there's something about mail and how it cuts through the digital clutter that remains attractive to consumers." These days, consumers can quickly delete a marketing email or ignore a text message, but a physical piece of mail forces them to pause and consider the message first.
Rohrs points to research by his company that found people also like the ceremonial aspect of going to the mailbox every day and opening letters and packages. Marketers have a chance to stand out from competitors if they find a way to deliver their messages in a cost-effective and meaningful way. Since so many brands have shifted the bulk of their marketing activities to digital environments, there are fewer competitors vying for space in consumers' mailboxes, Jon Yokogawa -- vice president of consumer engagement for communications agency interTrend -- told Jacoby.
Direct mail is also easily added to a multichannel marketing campaign and can complement social media and email strategies. It's a great way to develop loyalty among consumers with more relevant content. Many people are highly selective with what they read on social media and are constantly connected, but there is still room and demand for physical reading materials, comments Content Marketing Institute founder Joe Pulizzi.
The channel's affordability and ability to be highly targeted also make it a smart option for many marketing campaigns. As Integrated Marketing Group points out on its website, direct mail is inexpensive and can quickly be distributed to many customers in a specific neighborhood. The company suggests the use of saturation direct mail campaigns, which typically is delivered to at least 90 percent of a 450-address route. Restaurants, retailers and auto repair shops are among the businesses that can benefit from a saturation marketing campaign.