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Direct Mail Is the Perfect Primer

Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "Direct Mail Is the Perfect Primer," discusses the importance of the tactic for directing customers to digital destinations in a world where direct-to-consumer business models are replacing brick-and-mortar physical locations. The work-from-home economic footprint has grown exponentially due to the pandemic. Many financial experts predict that the work-from-home economy will likely remain the modern replacement for the corporate office model. As a result, the physical shopping experience is no longer the preferred method for consumers. The shift to online purchasing has brought about several business implications. For starters, millions of consumers rushing toward the internet creates bottlenecks, slows traffic, and produces an overcrowded landscape. You may have noticed that internet ISP providers, such as AT&T, Xfinity, and others, now offer download speeds up to 1gig and even slower speeds in the 100MB range. Second, many retailers are shutting their physical locations and replacing brick and mortar with an e-commerce business model. Experts suggest that more retailers will follow in the foreseeable future, particularly as more e-commerce technology enters the marketplace. 

However, many C-Suite executives understand that removing physical locations will alter the customer shopping psychology, compromising two fundamental growth principles: mental and physical availability.

These new business models will have to compete in the direct-to-consumer retail marketplace. When we look across the direct-to-consumer retail market spectrum, that market now ranges from fashion to food. It includes everything in-between, including automotive, medical, technology, insurance, education, entertainment, and gardening. Nowadays, everyone can research and purchase from all of these sectors online. That said, there will continue to be physical retail outlets. However, they will likely morph into experiential showcase locations with purchasing shifting to online. Iconic brands may be able to withstand the shift to direct-to-consumer models and maintain their physical locations, like Apple, Microsoft, and others are presently doing. However, it is unclear how long or if that business model will remain for the foreseeable future. 

Our Quote of the Day: 

"It is a well-known fact that bringing in technologies in the retail sector is good for customers." — N. R. Narayana Murthy, co-Founder, Infosys

A Retail Challenge 

Altitude Sport, a Montreal-based online retailer that leads the high-end technical apparel sector, consisting of outerwear, footwear, and gear, decided to rethink its marketing strategy in the wake of overcrowded online activity. The company has experienced significant growth since 2011, with its catalog of over 90,000 products featuring more than 400 Canadian and global brands. 

In 2011, Altitude Sports came to terms with its customer retention strategy electing the highly competitive direct-to-consumer market. Ultimately, Altitude closed all of its brick-and-mortar locations and remade itself into a pure-play e-commerce retailer. The company opted to use only online marketing channels for customer acquisition and customer retention goals during this period. Since the brand no longer had a physical store presence, 
the challenge of attracting shopper exploration or creating a memorable brand shopping experience was off the table.  Since the brand operates in a lifestyle category, a new approach became necessary to maintain the brand's previous peak performance levels in a saturated, mature category. Altitude experimented with mini-catalogs to fill the gap and enhance the customer experience.

Direct Mail Application
Direct mail proved to be a relevant and applicable marketing strategy concerning the mini catalog. Direct mail was the perfect primer for digital content, e-commerce, and physical stores.

 As a result, style guides, look books, and 'mag-alogues' served as the differentiators for oversaturated digital channels. In short, the catalogs attracted attention and transformed digital discovery into exploration. This example explains how direct mail can offer an opportunity to explore the brand while converting digital into a perfect harmonious consumer experience complete with an emotional and physical primer for the brand.

In short, when catalogs are integrated into retention channels, mainly when targeting segments, they move beyond simply retention and can engage customers and increase customer value.  Since customers have less time to visit physical locations, catalogs can deliver highly visual and extraordinary engaging marketing collateral.

Direct Mail Results

Altitude Sports decided to target the Black Friday - Cyber Monday weekend with combined segmented mini-catalogs. The results were on par with the company's goals. Namely, a 4.2% reactivation rate 30 days after customers received the mini-catalog. For this initiative, 160,000 targeted customers, including those that had not purchased the previous 120 days, were mailed catalogs. After switching from the online-only strategy, to online and direct, Altitude Sports experienced an average annual growth rate of 30-35%, including an 80-85% growth rate between April and December, 2020.

According to Altitude Sports, catalogs have and continue to be a crucial part of their marketing strategy. The co-CEO of Altitude has stated that seasonal catalogs help people remember that it's time to order and aid to keep the company top of mind with customers. In short, they are a reactivation reminder with an exceptional conversion rate.

The Net-Net

The Altitude Sports example is just one of many transversing the globe using direct mail collateral, catalogs in this case, as a marketing strategy to improve digital online shopping outcomes. It is undoubtedly a method that helps alleviate retail brick-and-mortar disruption. We hope you found value in this post. Thanks for reading "Direct Mail Is the Perfect Primer!" 

Let's have a conversation about integrated business solutions and how they can help grow your business, change behavior, and improve the customer experience. Let us show you how to improve your document processes to optimize your workflow, reduce costs, and maximize your organization's printing, letter shop, and mailing capabilities. Dove Direct does have an official USPS certified bureau located within our offices that will save you time and money. We can even create a demo file for you. For more information, call Carla Eubanks at 404-629-0122 or email Carla at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Dove Direct, your Atlanta based print and mail solutions provider, offers organizations end-to-end data, printing, and mailing solutions:

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