CRYSTAL BALL TO DIRECT MAIL
Do You Have a Crystal Ball?
Direct Mail is not going away any time soon, but there is no question that it is changing. Over the next several years, we can expect that direct mail will allow us to greatly increase the connections we build today. We will engage our audiences in ways we never realized.
Our focus on changes in the industry is usually based on what the market is asking for. Henry Ford once said as he was building his first automobile, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” He didn’t see any faster horses in his crystal ball.
There’s one thing you can count on in our industry; the pace of change will only accelerate faster from here. The direct mail industry is undergoing constant change; you can bet that industry mail leaders will continue to avail themselves with every available tool to deliver the most dynamic, most welcome, and most personal communications possible.
That said, when I look into my crystal ball, here’s what I see:
- Every mail piece will start as a plain piece of white paper, and every component, from the envelope, letter and insert, will be digitally printed and assembled as part of a single in-line operation. Software advancements will make it possible to make automatic real-time decisions on content and page layout based on the recipients’ potential ROI.
- Marketers already recognize that direct mail is a visual media – but the most compelling sales pitches will utilize bold, personalized imagery. Mailers will take advantage of more relevant, more targeted messaging and imagery on envelopes—with equally convincing relevant content inside that designed to please the recipient.
- With the volume of available data doubling every 18 months, analytics will take center stage in targeting. Direct mailers will be crunching data right up until the moment a mail piece is produced—continually fine-tuning models to pinpoint most likely responders. Tracking information will feed directly into centralized communication dashboards, providing the insights to make instant adjustments that will improve ROI.
- Mail will be linked to online experiences—through widgets and apps that have not even been invented yet—they will serve to increase the impact of mail. The explosion of digital communications will extend the life and value of a printed mail piece in many ways, opening the door to an infinite array of videos, online content, demos and information—each tailored, customized and targeted to the individual mail recipient.
- Targeted mail lists are already getting smaller. We can look forward to a day when single-piece jobs may well become the norm.
- All of these capabilities will provide for a new level of intimacy with prospects and customers as mailings can be produced and delivered in direct response to actions and events.
In conclusion, some of you will view the next few years as a time of challenges and frustrations. Others will see innovation, growth and higher profitability.
So the question is: What’s in your crystal ball?
Until next time!
To Your Success!
If you manage or work in a busy marketing department you likely know these scenarios.
- I need you to stop what you’re doing and design this custom (sales sheet, billboard, poster, print ad etc.).
- For some reason everyone’s business card looks different than your identity standards.
- Someone from sales just printed the old brochure design from 3 years ago instead of the new one
So how did things get so out of control? Thankfully there is a solution to gain back control of your time and your corporate identity. A web based ordering solution will address all of these scenarios and more. So how does it work? The web portal is how those you authorize will procure your companies marketing materials. It will contain products you authorize and templates that can be edited only as you have specified.
Product access is controlled by you. Some users are only able to access certain products while others you allow to access more or all. You control who can order what and how much customization they can have. You control which trusted vendors will produce which products.
You are removed from the proofing process because proofs happen in real time on the site based on your template rules. Order history is maintained in the system allowing you to track usage and see trends. Does this sound like a tool that can put you back in control of your company’s brand?
If you are looking for solutions to regain control of your brand and free up your design resources feel free to contact me any time for advice or to discuss your specific challenges.
Until next time!
To Your Success!
Two Sides sends open letter to Mr Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google in response to the newly announced ‘Go Paperless in 2013’ campaign « Two Sides
ATLANTA—A study carried out by research company Campbell River on behalf of the non-profit advisory body, Dunham+Company, found that people were more than three times as likely to donate after being contacted by direct mail than by e-mail.
The researchers asked people making a donation what had prompted them to make a contribution to the charity. The portion of people who were donating after receiving a direct mail appeal was 17 percent, more than three times higher than the 5 percent who had been prompted to donate by an e-mail.
Rick Dunham, CEO of Dunham+Company, described the results of the study as “a bit of a shock.” Dunham notes that recipients pay more attention to a physical object that comes into their mailbox than e-mail, which he points out is easily deleted.
According to the study, donors in the 40-59 age categories are the most responsive to direct mail—47 percent of them responded to receiving a letter by making a donation in 2012, which is a dramatic increase from 34 percent in 2010. Donors over the age of 60 also respond well to direct mail—24 percent of them donated in 2012 after receiving a letter, an increase of 6 percent since 2010.
Printing Impressions Magazine, 2012
Display advertising (banner ads) with Google and now Facebook etc. have been the obvious choice for years to drive traffic to your site but is it really effective? Many web surfers have learned to tune ads out. Recent studies show that only about 1 in 1,000 web surfers clicks the average display ad. You may have recently heard that as many as 75% of Facebook users don’t click ads. Webtrends reports their response rate to be more like 1 in 2000.
Unsolicited postal mail generates a response rate many times higher, according to published industry numbers. The USPS states that response rates to direct mail average about 1 to 2 in 100. Now these numbers sound great compared to banner ads but given the cost per response from direct mail compared to banner ads what is the better choice? Quite simply put, both. Each can reach potential customers the other may miss.
If you currently buy banner ads and it is working great! Keep doing it, but consider also adding direct mail to reach those you miss online. The statistics show that it will drive traffic if your mail list is refined and your offer is strong. If you are just using direct mail consider trying pay per click or email and more. You could capture people that you may be missing. The media options to search for new business are now so numerous and growing that there really is no one place to find all of your best potential customers. This is why a cross media approach is so important today.
If you are unsure what to do, consider speaking with a marketing professional. Consider someone with broad experience across multiple media so you can have the benefit of someone looking at the big picture for you. An experienced cross media marketing professional can take the guess work out and help you to target your dollars more effectively using the right mix of media gaining higher ROI for your budget.
Now its your turn. What are your thoughts on effectiveness of banner ads, direct mail and more?
Until next time!
To Your Success!
This is a re-post from “Eds Tips” by Ed Glaser
Direct Mail vs. E-Mail in the Current Environment
The purpose of this Tip is not to pit email against direct mail, but to explain why this is a particularly good time to lead off a multi-touch cross media marketing campaign with direct mail. As a cross media evangelist, I take every opportunity to further the principle that multi-touch cross media marketing campaigns are much more successful than any “one and done” campaign, no matter which media is chosen for such a campaign.
I believe that the time is right because of the proliferation of email these days, from 2007 to 2011 – email volume increased by 61%. I’m sure that you can see this in your own inbox. As the volume of emails reaching the inbox increases, the likelihood that recipients are opening and interacting with emails starts to diminish. How many emails do you delete without opening? This explains the slow and steady decline of email open rates over the last few years. The click rate for emails currently stands at only .12% according to the DMA’s recent 2012 response rate report. Also, please remember that “click rates” are not a reliable measurement of the success of an email campaign (see Ed’s Tip of 7-11-12).
Because of this glut of emails, many postal mail boxes have become uncluttered and the receptivity of direct mail by consumers is on the rise. Many companies believe that they are saving money by opting for emails in place of direct mail. Sure it costs less to send an email, but are they really getting their money’s worth? You would need to send a large number of emails as opposed to a very small number of highly targeted direct mails to accomplish the same result. As opposed to a .12% click rate, direct mail boasts an impressive 4.4% purchase or other significant activity response rate according to the same DMA Report.
Cross media campaigns that start with direct mail will “push” the recipient to a website or to a landing page more often than an email. Those that do not respond quickly, if they are properly identified as having a relevant interest in the offer, should be contacted by email to see if they will respond to that medium. If still unsuccessful, at least one more round of contacts, direct mail followed up by email, should occur. You need to remember, timing can always be an issue as to when the audience is triggered to action and ready to make a purchase decision.
This is the perfect time to send an email alerting the audience that their ideal offer is about to arrive in their postal box and also alert the sender to prepare to hear from their audience.
If you are interested in learning more about mail piece tracking, or cross media campaigns give me a call and we’ll talk about enhancing the value of your next campaign!
Until next time!
To Your Success!