Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "Mail Bridges the Emotional Gap," uncovers how mail, including direct mail marketing, helps solve the physical distance divide marketers and brands are grappling with due to the pandemic. Although brand marketers were the first to embrace all things digital, some are beginning to realize that mail is a boon in lockdowns and shelter in place advisories. More and more, digital companies built from the ground up are now looking for unique methods to better engage with their customers. Providing an exceptional customer experience in the digital world that connects is much more elusive than messaging that a person can feel and touch. According to Chris Rodgers, "Everything is, or is becoming digital, so targeted print products can offer a unique experience for people to feel and hold something of real substance. It helps bridge that emotional gap." One only needs to recall the emotional drivers that propel potential buyers into product purchasers. In a cognitive sense, the old retail adage of "Put the product in the customer hands" evokes a feeling of product ownership and compels the mind to own that product. Targeted mail is the next best thing to holding a physical representation of that product. That's the retail concept that has worked for decades.
When we think of the late Steve Jobs concept of identifying what customers want, the Apple retail outlets changed the game. Apple made the computer purchase experience a retail event. People gather in a retail computer environment and touch, feel, use and experience computers, watches, and iPads. For years, there was nothing like it.
Quote of the Day: "For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." — Nelson Mandela
Mail is the Engagement Tool In 2020, Covid-19 rolled the dice, and from a medical perspective, citizens the world over lost. Or if you play cards, 2020 dealt us a non-winning hand. The pandemic broke the rules, and as a result, some brand marketers have been living in lonely, challenging, and stressful times. However, some marketers have been able to gain ground as new opportunities began to emerge. Determination, grit, and perseverance are the forces that help propel growth and opportunities. When people decide to capture the moment and put on their 'can-do' hats, beyond the crowds' noise and emotion and information requests, we can establish a clearer picture of the avenues we should explore.
While most marketing has focused primarily on online commerce and digital destinations, a hidden trove lies in discovering significant attitudinal and behavioral changes related to mail, particularly in 2020. Last year proved mail's real and perceived value. The value of mail exponentially rose for B2B and B2C because of COVID-19. This heightened respect for the role of mail, including the USPS, has driven engagement, increased value, and respect for previously misnomered "snail mail." Furthermore, Millennials, often referred to as "digital natives," have a genuine appreciation for the written word on paper, including physical mail and messaging.
Direct Mail Creates Marketing Flexibility The national pause created by the Covid-19 tsunami required marketers to pause, then change course, as the situation was out of everyone's control. Changes in workflows, messaging, communications, and delivery tactics were converted to anything digital supporting work from home mandates. eCommerce blew up with the likes of Amazon, grocery store curbside pick up, and now, direct delivery for staples like food, household supplies, and streaming entertainment. Shortly after, Zoom video conferencing became the default environment for meetings and off-site communications. Although organizations work hard to provide communications avenues and tactics that engage people, many found engagement in the digital world limited, especially for customers. Bridging the emotional gap is where mail performs so much better than digital. We now know that targeted direct mail produces higher engagement rates and can improve digital response rates. Beyond the individual engagement with a mailpiece, direct mail can drive customers and prospects to a digital destination without ever seeing a digital ad. Marketers can direct customers to a social media channel, blog, digital, or brick-and-mortar destination. Targeted direct mail can contain calls-to-actions and QR codes that direct consumers to the brand's digital environment, where the transaction can be completed or further investigated. If brands want to deliver a better customer experience, they will find it necessary to be more flexible and create a seamless communications environment. To improve the overall customer experience, marketers will also incorporate targeted direct mail in the media mix.
The Tactile Feel of Print We can't say enough about the beauty of print when it comes to tactile emotions. It's one thing to read an offer online, but an entirely different and unique experience to hold a direct mail piece. Further, with a mail piece in hand, in the real world, where textures, paper types, inks, and die-cuts take hold and produce imagery that moves the senses in ways digital cannot match, print offers a uniquely different experience.
Businesses will continue and evolve as change is constant. As long as Covid-19 is here, it is highly probable that targeted mail will remain the medium of choice for better engagement and response rates. Mail's tactile and sensory triggers bridge the emotional gap. While many cannot engage face-to-face, mail can deliver a tangible experience that helps bridge that gap. After all, we are humans and crave human interactions. Thanks for reading "Mail Bridges the Emotional Gap." We hope you enjoyed this post.
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