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Why we love direct mail

We love direct mail, but it gets some pretty bad press. "It's expensive", "it doesn't work", "it's old-fashioned". Newer forms of digital marketing are, on the face of it, cheaper and more instant. But as more people start selling similar stuff to what you sell and competition for keywords and ad space hots up, digital advertising will continue to increase in price, and decrease in its effectiveness. Don't get me wrong, I'm an advocate of digital marketing. I'm just stating a fact. Of course, this all makes brand positioning, awareness building and customer understanding all the more important in order to succeed. Especially when customers are deciding whether to pick you vs. the competition in search listings. This actually makes offline media pretty important in building a consideration set for researching online. Brands need to recruit new customers and of course keep existing ones. Making themselves known to the consumer at the right point in time is key. So if you're a brand that lives online, we think that direct mail is a brilliant way of disruptively getting in the face of people who should know about you and buy from you.

Here are the reasons why we love direct mail

  1. It's old-fashioned! - Sometimes a big of nostalgia is good and we think there's something good about getting something interesting through the post because it simply doesn't happen that often any more.
  2. It's physical - We think there's still something authentic and powerful about interacting with something physical. Loyalty cards should have died years ago, yet many people still like pulling them out of their wallet. LPs have had a resurgence, as have physical books. Humans like to touch and feel. Enough said.
  3. It's disruptive - To be a successful business you have to sell. Sure the ideal scenario is that you have customers banging down your doors to buy from you, but not everyone's an Apple. Outbound marketing is good, if it's relevant, not if it's junk mail - a key point.
  4. It's engaging - Most of the post we receive comes in a white or brown envelope and it's either a bill, or bank statement. When something else comes through it gets your attention, even for a few seconds. A well put together direct mail piece will get a number of impressions and provides a great opportunity to communicate brand positioning.
  5. It's effective - It doesn't work for all types of business. But for the vast majority it does, when it's done well and carefully targeted. It's not about volume it's about precision and limiting the postage cost to only those who should get it. We can all name and shame brands which needlessly spend money on sending us their brochure or offer postcards. Given the data such companies hold, there's really no excuse for such waste.

Article by Will Young