As part of our effort to educate our audience on the state of direct mail as well as strategies that make direct mail campaigns more effective, we are beginning a new continuing post series. We are calling it “Direct Mail Now” to signify that this series highlights how and where direct mail fits into this fresh new year of 2016.
First and foremost, we want to establish that direct mail has never gone away. In fact, for many industries, direct mail campaigning is making a comeback. The novelty of digital communication has worn off to become commonplace, giving people room to reconsider the affordances and benefits that direct, physical mail offers. Many fields, including non-profits and marketers, are actually realizing that direct mail has a growing place within their efforts to reach out to audiences.
Learn more about the current state of direct mail and why it has emerged as a viable technique for organizations of any size or structure by reading on.
Bridging the Digital Divide with Direct Mail
One of the biggest issues that direct mail corrects is the assumption that everyone is in lockstep in terms of their adoption of digital technology. Now that smartphones are practically ubiquitous in our society, many companies are moving towards mobile-app-centered services like mobile banking and mobile hotel check-ins. As more companies embrace this trend, some of their customers are being left by the wayside.
Called “the digital divide,” this phenomenon occurs when those without the means or desire to access the internet on a regular basis watch services they once had access to disappear. One example is the U.S. Social Security program, which ceased sending physical checks and statements much to the outcry of older adults on the program. Without means to access these checks and statements, the digital divide has seriously hurt their income and financial planning abilities.
In the commercial and non-profit world, breaking communications with older adults can be a catastrophic hit to your revenues. The over-60 demographic is often affluent and interested in donating or taking advantage of valuable offers, so brands that neglect to send these individuals direct mail marketing materials are missing out.
Taking Advantage of Every Channel
Looking further at the push towards digital, many marketers and organizations are approaching their jobs from a “channel-oriented” perspective, where advertising and communicating efforts are split between media like television, social networks, apps, radio and so on. Increasingly, all of these channels are drifting towards online-oriented environments, such as how platforms like Hulu are supplanting cable TV as a primary means to watch programming.
In other words, “multichannel” is rapidly becoming synonymous with “lots of online channels.” While people are certainly glued to their smartphones and computers these days, they also can get fatigued by the excess noise and stimulation of digital media. Receiving yet another email or display ad from a brand can be overwhelming, causing the recipient to tune it out.
With direct mail, the physical act of receiving it separates that channel from digital ones. Companies like IKEA are adamant about the power of direct mail marketing for this reason. A decreasing emphasis on physical mail has allowed companies that still use it to differentiate themselves and speak directly to their audience.
This power goes beyond marketing, too. Customers who need copies of documents like invoices will often request a paper invoice copy so that their record-keeping can remain consistent. Other times, an important notice like a service contract that is about to expire will be more likely heeded if sent through direct mail.
For all of these reasons, direct mail has been revealing itself to brands and organizations as a viable strategy that helps them operate as effectively as they can. In an age where technology like personal computers, smartphones and the internet are still in their adolescence, direct mail has shown itself to be a mature and dependable solution to fall back upon.
You can learn more about the power of direct mail and how to leverage it further by reading our other informative posts.