Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "Direct Mail Marketing's Time is Now," visits the timing and effects of COVID19, including the challenges marketers face in reaching decisions regarding the most effective and efficient manner to market their brands. Indeed, marketing decisions are in a state of flux. Should brands continue with strategies that produced an effective ROI? Or, should adjustments be made in light of the pandemic and the economy? While these questions are not new, they are being reconsidered mid-year because of changing and evolving consumer confidence levels, eroding ROIs, and overall confusion as to where the country will be by year-end.
The retail challenges alone present a huge conundrum given that foot traffic has been greatly reduced. Retail will survive; however, it is likely that it will be different, the degree to which, is yet unknown. Nor do we know how long will it take the consumer to adjust. We anticipate some fallout. However, if you have a loyal customer base, your brand must decide how to reach and engage your most loyal customers. The majority of whom are still sheltering in place.
Our Quote of the Day: "The best marketing strategy ever: CARE."
– Gary Vaynerchuk, Entrepreneur
Email Marketing 2020
Email is either steady or, in some sectors, increasing. However, new data suggests that email marketing may not be the best vehicle to use during these challenging times. For example, a recent Campaign Monitor report stated that the average office worker receives 121 emails per day! With a vast number of people working from home, retail marketing could prove difficult for engagement. Open rates have and may continue to decline. Lastly, depending on what you are marketing, that open rate may or may not be efficient for the spend.
The Reach Factor
We are all aware of how businesses have embraced the digital landscape and often fall into the trap of relying on social media and email marketing for the majority of their ad spends. And to that point, the digital landscape will continue to perform, grow, and evolve with technological advances. Marketers will never leave the digital space, nor should they. However, reach, and frequency is the name of the marketing game.
Therefore, marketers and brands will need to reassess the effectiveness of reaching enough targets via digital marketing to justify the ad spend. In addition, and due to the increase in Internet traffic, it would be wise to diversify the ad spend to include email, social media, print, and direct mail communications. Just as your remote team works as if they are in the same room regardless of location, advertising should reach targets, wherever they may be, regardless of the platform. This approach will increase reach, expand the demographic, and generate higher response and engagement rates.
Even before the effects of the pandemic settled in, direct mail marketing numbers have shed light on various age groups that like and prefer direct mail marketing. There are a host of examples including;
- 28% of upscale targets that prefer catalogs for purchasing decisions,
- Millennial's who prefer reading books in print versus online,
- 78% of Car drivers purchase from direct mail marketing pieces,
Further, direct mail marketing improves and increases engagement and response rates for digital challenges.
In the direct marketing world, direct mail marketing campaigns, by and large, are experiencing an increase across all demographics. During this crisis, particularly given that a majority of workers are now housebound, direct mail presents an outstanding marketing tool that can reach and influence a variety of targeted customers. Further, as unlimited emails fill digital inboxes, communications that are delivered to a physical mailbox will almost guarantee that the marketing mail piece will be opened and read. In fact, other data reports suggest a good number of folks look for and anticipate receiving mail. This wider reach translates into a bigger universe from which to garner new business.
Direct Mail and Safety
If marketers are concerned that marketing via mail during the pandemic poses safety issues, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have suggested that receiving mail is relatively safe, and the risk is considered very low. However, keep in mind that contracting the virus is a possibility if precautionary measures are not followed. In addition, the US Postal Service and on-site USPS Certified clerks handle and process mail safely, and can provide a layer of safety measures for customers, employees, and the general public.
Best Way To Engage Customers
Direct mail marketing works best when the campaign is created with the customer in mind, or more importantly, designed from the customers' viewpoint. More than personalized content, the direct mail piece should offer special time-sensitive offers, in the form of coupons and/or directives to redeem the offer at an online destination. Direct mail continues to engage customers at the highest rate in the media world and directs them to complete the purchase online.
Further, as trade show attendance is all but moot, promotional items are a big hit and demonstrate an enduring, caring quality that consumers appreciate. Consumers would most likely be further endeared to the brand and really appreciate a branded product. Items that can be branded and sent to customers include useful items for the summer, such as sunglasses, hats, sunscreen, beach towels, and so on.
Maintain Your Lists
Marketers and brands that make an effort to annually maintain, purge, and clean current and former customer contact lists will greatly aid marketing campaigns by zeroing in on the particulars of each group to create niche lists.
The art of data collection for customers and prospects needs to include basic info, such as name, email address, mailing address, phone number, and company name, at the very least. Depending on your industry sector, more information may be required. For example, birthdays could be something the brand can consider using as a feel-good communication message. More information provides a wider scope with ways to market to your customers and prospects. The more information your contact lists contain, the better you will be able to address and market to your prospects.
No sector has been immune from the effects of Covid-19. Very few industries, including the postal service, have and will face challenges. We are all asked to step up during this pandemic, and what better way than sending a direct mail campaign to help strengthen the USPS from a financial standpoint? Besides, if executed properly, direct mail will improve your marketing reach and, ultimately, your ROI.
This is the time to hunker down and squeeze the most from the marketing investments. With billions of emails hitting the digital airwaves on a daily basis, and social media becoming the "endless scroll and see" proposition, it makes good sense to have a clutter-free alternative. Direct mail marketing can deliver better response and engagement rates for those customers who are seeking an alternative to overcrowded digital communication channels. Thanks for reading "Direct Mail Marketing's Time is Now."
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