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Why Direct Mail in the 21st Century?. .

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Is Direct Mail old fashioned? Tired - past its Prime? Overtaken by e-mail?

The above are typical of comments heard over the last few years. 

The main comparison marketers undertake is between e-mail and direct mail - they both have their strengths and weaknesses so let’s explore this.

There is no one way to undertake your marketing – you should be using all the methods available to communicate and sell that are open to you. Research proves that using more than one method together increases effectiveness by on average 24% over using the individual methods on their own.

E-mail -   is fast, quick, low cost and research shows people prefer it as a method of communication when they know the organisation that is contacting them. In 2013 average open rates were 19.6% (consumer products faired better at 25.4%) and a unique click through rate of 16.9%. Only 3.0% of those who received the e-mail actually visited a webpage and that generated an average response rate of 0.12%. Where you have a relationship with the individual results improve and the top performers had an open rate of 38.6% but 25% of e-mailers only achieved 7%.

This data shows that e-mail can and does work but the sheer volume of clutter in peoples in-boxes, shows that e-mails are great at communication mainly if the recipient knows you.

However setting out to build a business and generating new enquiries is far more difficult due to low open and response rates and the difficulty in sourcing good quality e-mail lists.

Direct Mail – 100% delivery, 56% of people believe that printed marketing is the most trust worthy form of communication, 66% of consumers keep their mail for over 2 weeks. Even in a digital world direct mail gets 44% of recipients to go your website. Average response rates are 4%. Overall 7% of receivers will take some sort of action.

Research undertaken at Bangor University looked at how the brain reacts to printed material versus virtual stimuli.  The “real” experience that the physical media provides means it’s better at becoming part of memory. It generates more emotion, helps to develop more positive brand associations, the materials have a more personal effect, and therefore aid motivation.

Direct mail has a response rate of 30 times that of e-mail and coupled with the availability of large quantities of reliable data provides a great opportunity to build your business. Costs are of course higher which is why you have to adopt the right approach to making it work.

Sources

1 DMA - http://dma.org.uk/sites/default/files/PDF/Annual%20Reports/Annual-report-2012.pdf
2 Millward Brown Neuroscience - http://ow.ly/CnnNR
3 A hierarchy of basic needs - http://cleamc11.vub.ac.be/Papers/Maslow.pdf
4 Silverpop email responses - http://www.silverpop.com/news/press/benchmark-study-2012.html

Other sources
http://dma.org.uk/toolkit/marketing-mix-2013
http://dma.org.uk/toolkit/content-marketing-uk-2014-benchmarks-budgets-and-trends
http://dma.org.uk/toolkit/fastmap-marketing-gap-report-2013
http://dma.org.uk/toolkit/infographic-letterbox-inbox-2013
http://dma.org.uk/toolkit/letterbox-inbox-building-customer-relationships-2013
http://image.exct.net/lib/fe641570776d02757515/m/1/SFF14-The2012ChannelPreferenceSurvey.pdf
http://dma.org.uk/sites/default/files/tookit_files/how_much_response_goes_online_-_go_integrated_mar_2012.pdf
http://www.marketingcharts.com/wp/traditional/direct-mail-tops-email-for-response-rates-costs-per-lead-similar-22395/
http://www.dmnews.com/dma-direct-mail-response-rates-beat-digital/article/245780/

David Amor is Managing Director of First Move direct marketing, a leading mailing house located in the Thames Valley and sponsors of the 2014 DMA Awards Business to Consumer category.

First Move Direct Marketing are proud sponsors of the DMA awards 2014.

http://www.firstmove.co.uk 

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