Direct Mail: The Meat-And-Potatoes Of Your Marketing Menu

Direct Mail: The Meat-And-Potatoes Of Your Marketing Menu

If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, should you feed him a ribeye fresh off the grill, a chocolate pie warm from the oven, potatoes mashed with butter or a bowl of spicy chili?

I’d say all of the above.

It is the same with marketing — you don’t offer one dish. Instead you offer a menu of messages delivered in different formats.

Ad blockers don’t stop direct mail

Marketing is like food in another way. It can be trendy. That’s one reason I always remind clients that direct mail, while nothing new, is a sturdy standard, the meat-and-potatoes of marketing plans. Sure, marketing with social media and online advertising are hot, but just like quinoa, they have downsides and detractors. Consider current controversies over Facebook’s sharing of user information and users’ increasing use of ad-blocking technology (a 30 percent jump in 2016 alone).

Those issues don’t mean Facebook or online advertising are going away, but these and other issues illustrate that it’s never a good idea to put all your marketing spend in one or two channels.

Here are a few points about the power of direct mail, an old standard that can deliver good results.

  • The only thing that can block direct mail is a mailbox that’s glued shut. And even if that happens, the U.S. mail guarantees it will get the mail in your customers’ hands.
  • Direct mail has a better return on investment than online display advertising. (29 percent compared to 16 percent, according to the Data and Marketing Association.) Social media marketing scored one point better than direct mail, at 30 percent.
  • Online ads pop up and disappear. The average piece of direct mail stays around a house 17 days. I guess that’s how often the recycling goes out.
  • A whopping 66 percent of direct mail gets read.
  • Since 2000, the time the average American spends online each week has jumped from 10 hours to 24, but there’s evidence we are getting a little burned out on our screens. For example, a group of millennials polled about buying habits said they’d be more likely to use a voucher that was delivered to their house than one delivered online.

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