According to the cartoon above, 2012 is the end. No Dick Clark – no New Year’s Eve. For those of you believing this, your work is almost done. No more worrying about developing the 2013 Marketing Plan, sales goals or revenue projections.
For those of you not buying into the end-of-world prediction, it’s time to start thinking about your future marketing initiatives. Yes, we have a shaky economy and the upcoming U.S. elections will make marketing decisions a little less easy to make. We’re all going to be fighting to capture business from the recession-dazed public.
Deliver Magazine recently spoke with a wide range of marketing veterans, consultants and other experts to discuss their thoughts on the immediate future of direct mail. According to their findings, many of those contacted believe that direct mail will see some stiff challenges, but they were passionate in their belief that direct mail is an essential component in the multi-channel mix. Many believe that mail is uniquely positioned to play a major role in the national economic resurgence that all are hopeful we will see in the last half of 2012 and into 2013.
With the high stakes national election, it’s predicted that politicians will wage war at the mailbox from June through the election. Credit card companies, insurance agencies and telecom, who were big direct mail spenders last year, are predicted to continue those direct mail spending levels. Experts on the retail side believe direct mail marketing within the automotive industry will grow, as well as growth in apparel company catalogs. Zappo’s Michael Fellner, states, “The catalog is a good vehicle to reach customers who might not be completely comfortable with ordering online”.
With research showing that the 100,000,000+ Millennials are very receptive to direct mail, you can expect marketers to be targeting them at the mailbox, as well as through social media. Millennials purchase at rates 500% more than their parents’ generation (in adjusted dollars) and 53% of them had visited a website after receiving a promotional direct mail piece. This makes them a worthy target for marketers.
A study conducted by Brand Science found that combining direct mail with other marketing activities increases campaign payback by up to 20 percent. Alex Feldman, manager of Global Forecasting for MagnaGlobal states, “If you think about conversions, direct mail is much more successful than social media ads. It has a dual function. There’s that performance aspect, but there’s also brand building”.
Instead of dumping more marketing dollars into over-saturated digital channels, Dave Scott, CEO of online lead list generator Marketfish, believes that savvier marketers will opt to use more direct mail blended with technological innovations such as QR codes. He also feels that overcrowded email queues only add to the appeal of direct mail.
So, if you’re not believing the world is going to end this year, consider direct mail as one of your channels to maximize brand awareness and drive targets to your online sites. But, use your creativity to find ways to personalize that direct mail. Research by Hunter-Miller Group shows that participants are more likely to open, or read, mail that is specifically addressed to them. So, eliminate “To occupant” or “Our friends at . . .”. People are more likely to read your direct mail piece when their name, or other personal information, is incorporated.
Postcards continue to be a very cost-effective way to attract the attention of your targets and personalization will increase that effectiveness. And, it’s not just direct mail that needs to be personalized. All of your marketing communications should be moving toward being more targeted, more personalized and tailored to building relationships.