Long Live Direct Mail
17 Dec 2014
Recent reports that Direct Mail (DM) is dead are greatly exaggerated. Facts show that last year in the UK alone, companies spent more than £1.5 billion on paper-based DM. In fact Google, which controls almost 70% of all internet traffic, still send out DM. So why do reports continue to insist that DM is becoming extinct?
Amidst these reports are claims that it’s difficult to prove the ROI of DM, and that it’s impossible to build the kind of customer relationships that are achievable through digital media. But in the emerging era of cross-media communication, this argument no longer holds water.
A business case for DM
It’s time, quite appropriately, to be direct: DM remains one of the most powerful weapons in a marketer’s armoury. The facts speak for themselves: research from Royal Mail shows that 83% of people still believe that DM is easier to consume than email. When coupled with the statistic that 92% of all direct mail is opened and 48% of UK adults take action after receiving it, it’s not surprising that DM is responsible for driving 44% of traffic to brands’ websites. When compared to digital, DM delivers an average £3.22 ROI compared with online’s £3.12 for every £1 (who said it was difficult to prove the ROI of DM?).
If the statistics aren’t enough, when DM is integrated with other channels and used as an engine for multi-touch campaigns, it has the potential to transform customer engagement and build long-term brand loyalty.
A business case for mobile
The trend towards mobile is equally compelling. In the UK, smartphone penetration has increased by 106% since 2001. Globally, more than 1.2 billion people access the web using a mobile device, whilst in the UK, 91% of users access the mobile web every day. 80% of mobile time is spent using Apps, while as Internet shopping continues to grow, adults’ purchases online has increased to 77%. The increasing number of mobile users presents immense opportunities to reach potential customers.
When DM and mobile meet
One of the main drivers contributing to the resurgence of DM is the ever-increasing penetration of smartphones and tablet devices. Combined, print and mobile can drive high-value communications that make the marketing budget work harder and the customer relationship last longer. With 90% of people claiming they couldn’t live without their letterbox and 86% saying they couldn’t cope without their mobile it’s clear that both channels offer brands a powerful reach into consumers’ lives.
The emergence of innovative image recognition technologies is facilitating a powerful convergence of DM and mobile, and giving marketers the opportunity to create brand communications that combine the familiarity of print with the measurability, interactivity and agility of digital media.
Scanning technology, powered by mobile engagement, is enabling consumers to marry their mail with their mobile to create a rich and rewarding multichannel experience that not only helps them connect with brands, it incentivises them to buy from them. This, alone, demonstrates how direct mail is certainly not dead, but with the fitting help of image recognition technology, the medium could finally get the image and the recognition that consumers think it richly deserves.
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